According to the latest research data from Mintel, locally purchased fruits and vegetables by grocery stores and restaurants are now more important to consumers than organic options.

Mintel research found that 52 percent of consumers reported that it's more important to buy local produce than organic. 

Additionally, data from Mintel’s Global New Products Database seems to support this statement, as fruit products with a natural/organic claim have declined 58 percent between 2008 and 2011, while vegetable product launches with that claim have decreased by 77 percent during the same time period. 

"Natural and organic produce items aren't completely passe, but local varieties are steadily gaining ground," said John N. Frank, category manager, CPG food and drink reports at Mintel. "Interestingly enough, senior citizens are even more likely to believe that buying local produce is more important than organic."

While it's true that consumers have their preferences when it comes to the type of fruits and veggies they consume, they still aren't eating the recommended daily amounts. Fourteen percent of Americans don't eat any servings of fruit on a typical day and 7 percent report the same of their vegetable eating habits. Meanwhile, 69 percent agree that they should eat more fruits and veggies than they currently consume.

"Consumers may respond well to a marketing message touting the idea that eating vegetables is a healthier way to get important vitamins than taking a pill," Frank said. "Some 81 percent of respondents agree with that statement. Another effective marketing message could be ways to make meal salads with vegetables, as 59 percent of respondents say they eat salads as a meal at least once a week."

Giving vegetable preparation ideas could also go a long way in increasing produce consumption. It may be lack of ideas that leads 37 percent to say the fresh vegetables they buy often go bad before they have a chance to eat them, and 27 percent say they would eat more vegetables if they knew how to prepare them.

Read more about restaurant trends and statistics.

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