Dole Fresh Vegetables’ entry into the chopped salad arena this fall with five new products came in response to consumer demand reflected in its own marketing research and in foodservice trends.
“Consumers want layers of flavor, texture, color and crunch in every bite,” said Chris Mayhew, vice president of marketing for Monterey, Calif.-based Dole Fresh Vegetables.
Chopped salads would be well received, the research showed, if they combined the health benefits of salad with tastes that can’t easily be recreated at home, Mayhew said.
Dole’s line of chopped salads, launched in September, includes three kits and two blends with a suggested retail price of $3.99:
- Chipotle & Cheddar Chopped Salad Kit: Cheddar cheese and cheddar tortilla strips with green and red cabbage, romaine, kale, carrots, green onions and chipotle ranch dressing;
- Bacon & Bleu Chopped Salad Kit: Applewood smoked bacon with green and red cabbage, romaine, kale, carrots, green onions and Dole’s blue cheese dressing; and
- BBQ Ranch Chopped Salad Kit: Fried onions, cheddar tortilla chips, green and red cabbage, romaine, kale, carrots, green onions and a barbecue ranch dressing.
The blends, with a suggested retail of $2.99 to $3.29, were envisioned for use with whatever proteins, toppings and dressings consumers choose:
- Asian Chopped Salad Blend: Green and red cabbage, kale, broccoli slaw, snap peas and sweet carrots. Besides a salad, it can be used for stir frying.
- Summer Garden Chopped Salad Blend, with green and red cabbage with romaine, radishes, green onions and carrots.
Between crunch and variety of ingredients, Dole aimed to follow the success of Chop’t and other restaurants where such offerings have been the fastest-growing salad segment in casual dining.
“The new line is already being considered for several 2014 new product awards,” Mayhew said.
Dole’s chopped salads are backed by national marketing that includes coupons, in-store merchandising, a website http://tinyurl.com/n38jk7k plus social media and blogging.
“We’re also working closely with our retailer partners to create customized promotional and in-store programs dedicated to chopped,” Mayhew said.
The addition of the five new stock-keeping units brought the number of Dole Salad products to 49.