Vegetable 'hipster revolution' spikes demand for obscure vegies

Friday, 28 February, 2014

It’s what we’ve all been fearing: the hipster vegetable revolution is upon us.

According to market research from AUSVEG, consumers are increasingly favouring obscure vegetables to spice up their midweek dinners.

“Increasingly, Australians are craving vegetable ingredients that are not in the mainstream. This demand could evoke a ‘hipster revolution’ for emerging and underground vegetable varieties,” said AUSVEG spokesperson Felicity Powell.

“Gay choy, taro and winter melon are among the lesser-known vegetable varieties of Australian grown produce. They’re pretty underground - you’ve probably never heard of them - but if you want to spice up the kitchen or add a flavour of the exotic, these are right up your alley.”

A survey of more than 1000 people found that Asian vegetables, sweet potato and baby spinach are some of the top vegetables that consumers would like to see more of on their plates.

“It comes as no surprise that Australian consumers are demanding more exotic vegetable produce, particularly with the rising popularity of international cuisines. Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai cuisines are particularly in vogue, and our study indicated that they also provide the most diverse choice of vegetable produce,” said Powell.

Results of the study also indicated a desire amongst consumers to explore new vegetable varieties and for restaurants to experiment with innovative varieties of common vegetable produce.

“This report has shown that emerging vegetable varieties, such as the Tesoro tomato, which is a unique variety of tomato packed full of flavour and yet low in liquid, have huge market potential in Australia,” Powell said.

The research project was funded through Horticulture Australia Limited using the National Vegetable Levy and matched funds from Australian Government.

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