Dole adds two salad kits, arugula blend

02/16/2011 10:16:28 AM
Mike Hornick

Dole Fresh Vegetables plans to bring two vinaigrette-based salad kits plus a 5-ounce arugula blend to retail shelves starting in April.

The company is also revamping a number-based texture/taste scale system on salad packages.

The kits — Endless Summer and Spinach Cherry Almond Bleu — join the All Natural Dole Salad Kits line, company spokesman Bob Ochsner said.

Spinach Cherry Almond Bleu combines baby spinach leaves with blue cheese crumbles, dried whole cherries, sliced almonds and Dole’s white balsamic vinaigrette. The company describes the taste as sweet and savory.

“Spinach-based blends and kits are among the fastest-growing salad varieties thanks to their superior taste, texture and nutrient profiles,” Michelle Gonsalves, director of new product marketing for Monterey, Calif.-based Dole Fresh Vegetables, said in a news release. “We’re seeing an increasing number of spinach-only salad consumers.”

Endless Summer blends romaine with shredded carrots and red cabbage. The kit includes shredded Swiss and gruyere cheeses, roasted sunflower kernels, artisan-style croutons, herb seasoning and a vinaigrette dressing.

“Early research and sales suggest that it has the potential to become one of our most popular romaine-based offerings,” Gonsalves said in the release.

Vinaigrette has become the top salad dressing choice among restaurant customers, Ochsner said.

Offering the new arugula blend in a 5-ounce bag was done in part to encourage consumer experimentation and adoption.

Also on tap for spring are changes to the on-pack Dole Salad Guide. The grower-shipper is replacing number-based taste and texture scales with a word-based and color-coded system.

The tastes range from sweet and subtle to zesty and bold and complex and robust. The texture scale includes tender, crisp and crunchy.

In March, Dole Fresh Vegetables plans to roll out a newsletter featuring salad recipes, seasonal serving suggestions and other information.

The newsletter is part of a larger campaign focusing on interactive online ads and mobile marketing, including smartphone-scannable codes to link shoppers to recipes and nutritional information.

Dole plans to back the campaign, Ochsner said, with in-store merchandising and a new salad website featuring a recipe library, recipe sharing, a store locator, loyalty program registration and social and mobile media integration. The Dole Salad Facebook page has 170,000 fans.

More information is available online at www.dole.com/salads.



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