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Time Magazine declared in 2017 that the lowly cauliflower is the new “it” vegetable while Bloomberg dubbed is as “the new kale.” Although these declarations should have encouraged people to eat more of this vegetable, its sales remained flat for a few months. In fact, Nielsen Perishables reported that while the sales of cauliflower grew to 8% annually from 2011 to 2016, it remained flat ever since.
How the Cauliflower Debuted As the “It” Veggie
Although people have been intrigued about cauliflower for a few years, it was only now that it was presented under the limelight. It was the Cauliplower’s 2017 debut that made this vegetable famous. It was during the expo when consumers were first introduced to the first gluten-free cauliflower pizza crust. To date, nearly 9,000 stores distribute this product that led to the creation of a new baking mix by the company. This also sparked the trend which resulted in the market seeing products like cauliflower chips and cauliflower pretzels. Gone are the days when the only cauliflower product available at Trader Joe’s is cauliflower rice.
What makes the vegetable trendy is that it is healthy, full of fiber and low in carbohydrate content, which makes it a very logical alternative to grains especially among people who cannot eat grains. Grains have been blamed for digestive issues which are pushing the gluten-free trend. This vegetable also fits well with the growing vegan and plant-based movement. In a report released by GlobalData, there was an increase of 600% of people who opt for the vegan lifestyle in the U.S.
High Demand, Low Production
There is an increased consumption of fresh cauliflower according to the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. The per capita consumption of cauliflower is estimated to 2.18 pounds in 2017 that is 38% higher from the 1.57 pounds in 2016 and 1.33 pounds in 2010.
Despite the increased consumption per capita of cauliflower, there is still a limited supply of cauliflower to meet the growing demands of the consumer. This is expected to drive the prices of the vegetable higher. But will this make a price war in the market? Not entirely as the agriculture sector is working hard to meet the growing demands of this wonder veggie.
On the other hand, cauliflower contains a minimal amount of starch, which makes formulation challenging to create new products without using specialized equipment. For instance, cauliflower pretzels and crackers need special tools to develop the new products according to Ground Up COO Vincent James–maker of cauliflower crackers and pretzels.
The lowly cauliflower has emerged into a superfood, and it has come a long way since it debuted in the expo. If food manufacturers can continue to create more opportunities to develop cauliflower-based products despite the challenges such as the high price and low demand, then this vegetable will have a long way to go before it reaches its full potential.
Inspired by www.fooddive.com