The vegetable sector is particularly labor intensive, which poses a challenge for Norwegian producers in the form of high labor costs. Consistently high yields of high-quality crops are required to maintain production at an economical level. New production methods offer new opportunities — labor-saving technologies reduce costs and enable more accurate monitoring of production with the aim of improving quality. In addition, sustainable production and circular economy will diminish waste throughout the value chain and give added value.
Research and development within the fruit and vegetable sector focuses on a range of topics, including genetics, agronomy and cultivation, plant physiology and plant – environment interactions, quality of raw materials and end-products, storage and storage quality up to the point that the customer receives the finished product. Varieties are tested in new production systems as semi-controlled production of berries in tunnels, closed production in greenhouses, aquaponics, hydroponics and different field-production systems.
Research into selective plant breeding and challenges associated with plant physiology generates knowledge about genetic variation, a plant's ability to adapt to the environment, and how the environment and climate influence growth, development and quality.
In the most recent agricultural report ("Meld. St. 9, 2011–2012") published by the Storting (Norwegian parliament), the vegetable sector was identified as an area in which an increase in Norwegian production is possible. An increase in vegetable consumption is also desirable as a means of improving people's diets.