Small in stature but big in flavor, Brussels sprouts are a sales driver in the produce department,
whether purchased in bulk or in a wide array of value-added offerings. A native of northern Europe, this nutrient-dense vegetable got its name from being cultivated near the Belgian capital in the late 16th century. While the category’s roots are across the pond from The Snack Magazine’s Sacramento, California, homebase, they are finding increasing popularity in the North American market and show no signs of stopping. Let’s check in with some of our friends on the little guys’ larger than life possibilities...
Director of Marketing, Ocean Mist Farms
“Consumer demand for Brussels sprouts is year-round, so full displays of fresh Brussels are needed every day. However, as we get into the fall and winter eating holidays, Brussels sprouts make their way to the plate in some of their more festive flavor combinations. Almonds, apples, pecans, and pomegranate arils are a few of the complementary flavors found in the produce department to use for cross-merchandising. Always feature seasonal-specific recipes on communication platforms to inspire purchase. A few favorites to try are Apple Glazed Brussels Sprouts and Brussels Sprouts Salad with Paleo Poppyseed Dressing.”
Director of Produce and Floral, Longo Brothers Fruit Markets
“Brussel sprouts—normally people cringe when they hear those two words together—for me, my mouth waters. They are one of my favorite vegetables, next to beets, of course. Small, big, halved, on the stalk, or even peeled and trimmed, I love them all. The best way I like to buy them is whole and trimmed; it makes it very easy to prepare and enjoy.
A couple of ways I enjoy preparing them is in a bowl with olive oil, fresh thyme, and coarse salt with cracked pepper. Just toss and put right on the grill. Those can also be prepped the same way in the oven at high heat and broiled to finish.
But, my favorite way is on the stove top. Prepare a hot sauce pan with olive oil and chopped chorizo sausage. Once the chorizo is seared, add in small trimmed Brussels sprouts. Once charred, they are ready to devour.”
Senior Category Manager, Produce, Sprouts Farmers Market
“I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite vegetable, but Brussels sprouts are a staple in our household! Using an air fryer allows us to get an amazing roasted texture in a short amount of time. One of our favorite ways to prepare them is to cut them in half, evenly coating them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Fifteen minutes in the air fryer, and you have crispy-tender Brussels sprouts that are well-balanced between earthy and a mild sweetness from the balsamic.
Another method that’s become a holiday tradition for us is ‘smashed’ Brussels. After blanching them to soften them up, season them with olive oil, garlic, and thyme. We’ll then lay them out on a baking sheet and flatten them with the bottom of a drinking glass. Then you can top with salt, pepper, and your cheese of choice, baking until crispy. Both are sure-fire crowd pleasers—kids included!”
Vice President of Sales and Marketing, 4Earth Farms
“We continue to see steady growth and excitement for this amazing and versatile veggie! Our customers have had great success by displaying and promoting a variety of pack sizes and forms of Brussels sprouts, including adding purple Brussels sprouts, stalks, and halved sprouts for a chance to bring additional interest and texture to their displays.”
Sales Manager, Ippolito International
“These family favorites are the perfect comfort food for fall weather. As the weather cools off, people start heading back into the kitchen to cook more and these ‘little cabbages’ can be prepared in a variety of dishes. The most popular and easy way to prepare Brussels sprouts is to roast them with a little olive oil. Brussels sprouts can be roasted alone or roasted with other colorful fall vegetables to make a beautiful side dish. The green adds a great contrast of color along with other popular orange, yellow, and purple fall vegetables. They can also be added to soups and casseroles. I always love seeing the whole stalks in the store. They can be a centerpiece all by themselves, but can also be roasted on the stalk for a beautiful presentation on your dining room table! It makes for a fun conversation piece, and everyone gets to ‘harvest’ their own sprouts off the stalk to put on their plate!”