VEGETABLES FOR PROCESSING: NEW DEVELOPMENT AND CONCERNS FOR THE FUTURE
Internally, in most countries, we are seeing a great demand for high quality fresh products. As refrigeration technology becomes more widespread, air transportation remains relatively cheap and the ability to purchase high quality produce increases, this competition from the fresh vegetable producers will become even sharper. As trade barriers are broken down, as by the Common Market, we might anticipate an increased level of trade involving processed vegetables, especially those which are grown most efficiently in narrow ecological zones, or with a local tradition of high quality/high production efficiency with a significant comparative advantage. However, we can expect that only the most high quality products will compete in that market. Growth in sales of vegetables is more likely to be a result of new processes or new products rather than significant shifts in production areas or increases in sales of established products. It is highly desirable from an economic development standpoint to add as much value as possible to a raw product before exporting it. The value added to otherwise low cost vegetables, through processing, may be as high as ten-fold. Thus, diversification into vegetable production for processing is attractive to areas or countries with excess production of grains. This incentive should encourage governments to support the vegetable processing industry as actively as they support the basic food grains. Caution must be exercised in new vegetable production ventures - the markets can quickly be oversupplied and competition with established producers can be very difficult.
Quality of processed foods has always included purity, color, size, texture and flavor. In a more international market it also must include consistency, suggesting perhaps a uniform grading system, unless the processor's label is an accepted seal of quality. The quality factor which is becoming of increased importance to the consumer is nutritional composition. In the U.S. the nutritional