Is the baby veg market coming of age?
Growing interest in healthy eating is combining with a buoyant eating-out
trend to boost demand for mini vegetables
When it comes to the small matter of getting people to eat more vegetables, the big news is that smaller may be better, at least when it comes to dining out. That's good news for companies selling so-called baby vegetables; by no means, a new phenomenon (either by nature or design, small-scale veg have been around for a while), the last couple of years have seen the category establish itself as very much a friend of foodservice.
Now, thanks to increased consumer demand for healthy and previously undiscovered foods – and no doubt encouraged by the immediate visual impression made by countless pieces of photographic evidence posted on social media – the popularity of so-called baby vegetables is increasingly rapidly, according to one of Europe’s leading suppliers of fresh produce to the foodservice industry.
“Guests in restaurants expect to be surprised, but also expect a healthy dish,” says Roy Peters. Thailand Microgreens are now supplying both professional chefs & local homes a range of high-quality microgreens, edible flowers and now miniature vegetables.
For many years, says Peters, the formula was “meat plus a little bit of veg”; now the general trend is for more fruit and vegetables in the kitchen.
Thailand Microgreens has noted rising demand for products and services that make it easier for chefs to impress their clientele every time they sit down to eat. In some cases, that means offering washed and pre-cut produce that is ready to use right away; in other instances, the emphasis is on providing rare, unusual and eye-catching products. Hence the big buzz around small veg. Restaurants under pressure to deliver more inspiration and more surprises,” Peters explains. “Mini vegetables bring colour to the plate and make it complete. You can use the whole thing, as with little carrots for example, and visually it’s very impressive.”
Mini leeks, carrots, and pattypan are the most popular lines, while the latest additions to the range include baby red cabbage and different colored baby radishes. Whatever happens, customers are kept informed about new products and invited to try new lines free of charge