With more Americans adopting a more health-conscious diet, overall cauliflower consumption has also increased. As demand for products that are low in carbs and gluten-free continues to grow, companies are turning to vegetables like cauliflower as a replacement in products that contain ingredients like flour and rice.
Cauliflower has become a popular choice with consumers who use a food processor to turn it into a rice substitute in a variety of dishes. The cruciferous vegetable has become popular due to its versatility in a wide variety of different diets. The nutritional aspects demonstrate 125 fewer calories, 29 fewer grams of carbs and three times the amount of fiber in a 100-gram serving when compared to rice.
According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, the per capita consumption of fresh cauliflower was estimated to be 2.18 pounds in 2017, which is a 61 percent increase from the 1.57 pounds in 2016. Market research from Nielsen also showed that sales of products that contain cauliflower also rose by 71 percent in value in the previous year.
The growth of cauliflower consumption comes as good news for California growers, as the state is responsible for approximately 90 percent of all production. The increase in demand naturally resulted in the growth of the overall industry as well. Planted California acreage has experienced an increase over the past three years with 37,800 acres planted in 2017. Production also grew significantly in 2017 to nearly 415 thousand tons. The overall value of California cauliflower production in 2017 was close to $83 million.
The demand for products with cauliflower as an ingredient has caused an explosion in the marketplace, with a significant increase in the number of baby foods and refrigerated side dishes containing cauliflower. There has also been tremendous growth in the availability of products such as cauliflower flour, cauliflower “rice”, cauliflower crackers, chips, and pretzels.