Convenience and health continue to drive huge growth in demand for fresh-cut fruits and vegetables at grocery retail.

Coral Gables, Fla.-based Fresh Del Monte is expanding and strengthening both its fresh-cut fruit and organic fresh-cut fruit programs this year, said Kirk Teske, vice president, product management and sales, Fresh Cut North America.

Over the past few years, the company has closely tracked rising demand for organic products and has expanded its organic fresh-cut fruit production accordingly, Teske said.

In addition, Del Monte is expanding its conventional fresh-cut programs for Del Monte Gold Extra Sweet pineapples, melons, grapes, citrus, apples, mangoes and kiwis in both the United States and Canada.

One thing Del Monte loves to emphasize to its customers: fruits are cut locally for peak freshness and maximum shelf life.

Fresh-cut sales at Del Monte have bounced back significantly now that COVID is long past its peak, Teske said.

“With consumers physically back in stores, sales have been tremendous. Specifically, we’ve seen increased demand and produce volume for Del Monte pineapples, mangoes and watermelons.”

Convenience and quality, he added, have been the main drivers.

Fresh-cut vegetables are also trending up, Teske said. One main driver is the rise in demand for meal and dish kits.

“Today’s consumers greatly value convenience,” he said. “From what we’ve seen, prepped and diced onions and peppers are very popular. The meal solutions category continues to grow in popularity, even outside of the fruit space.”

The future of fresh-cut looks bright, Teske said. With retailers expanding their fresh-cut spaces to offer a larger array of fruits and vegetables, Del Monte strives to make its cut-to-order produce as convenient as possible for retailers.

“Whether orders are for direct, next day deliveries or pickups, our cut-to-order process eliminates obstacles for retailers and helps continue to incrementally grow retail sales.”