“What’s driving the business is the value-added along with the organic carrots,” he said.
Organic baby and cello carrots are up 19%.
Grimmway is focusing its efforts on the snack category and marketing its Carrot Dippers, Borda said.
In celery, demand for fresh-cut remains strong, said Nichole Towell, director of marketing for Duda Farm Fresh Foods. The grower-shipper pegs annual processing at 134 million pounds, mostly off the West Coast.
Duda grows sweeter, proprietary celery varieties for such items as its 1.25-pound ready-to-eat pack, labeled as the equivalent of two stalks. A larger pack is sold in club stores.
“The snacking vegetable category is still growing,” Towell said.
Salads are about 60% of the combined fresh-cut and value-added market, Means said. Excluding salads, carrots equal nearly half of the remaining vegetable segment.
For Ready Pac Foods, Irwindale, Calif., sales of its expanded Bistro salad line contributed to overall growth of nearly 22% in the single-serve salad category in 2012, said Tristan Simpson, director of marketing and corporate communications.
Data indicating 47% of meals are eaten alone suggests further increases are likely, she said.
“We’re starting to get a variety of usage occasions in the salad set, which is going to increase overall consumption,” said Samantha Cabaluna, vice president of communications and marketing for San Juan Bautista, Calif.-based organic grower-shipper Earthbound Farm.