Organic salad growth encourages Earthbound Farm

10/31/2011 02:49:00 PM
Mike Hornick

SAN JUAN BAUTISTA, Calif. — Grower-shippers such as Earthbound Farm continue to tout the success of organic salads.

The segment accounted for 17% of packaged salad sales in the past year, according to Nielsen U.S. Grocery.

“Retailers can capitalize on shopper excitement around organic salads by making sure they’re allocating space proportionate to the sales they generate,” said Samantha Cabaluna, director of communication at San Juan Bautista-based Earthbound Farm.

“There’s quite a bit of opportunity to expand the organic set and reap the benefits of the salad category’s growth engine.”

A traditional powerhouse in organic, Earthbound continues to expand, but they’ve got more company now — as the segment grows, so does the competition.

Watsonville, Calif.-based Classic Salads also has been expanding its organic offerings.

The company introduced Half and Half, a spring mix and baby spinach blend, in October. It’s the seventh product in their organic line. The others are Spring Mix, Baby Spinach, Fresh Herb Mix, Baby Arugula, Sweet Baby Lettuces and Baby Romaine.

Classic Salads also has three new organic romaine blends in 7-ounce clamshells — Hearts of Romaine, Italian Salad and Romaine Salad.

However, Earthbound Farm is holding its own in the market with new products.

Some recent product introductions include Earthbound’s Power Meal line, rolled out in July. Since then, ithas gotten media mentions in Every Day with Rachael Ray, Women’s Health magazine and the Today Show.

The three salads — Blueberry Quinoa Protein Balance, Cranberry Wheat Protein Boost and Tomatillo Black Bean Protein Energy — offer plant-based protein combinations. Grains, seeds and legumes are packaged with leafy greens, and vinaigrette dressings are included.

From now through December, Earthbound is backing Power Meals with a Power Up Penelope promotion on Facebook.

Consumers answer three questions to enter daily drawings for prizes that include iPads. At last check, the page had 32,429 likes.

Another recent Earthbound offering is Mixed Baby Kales, a washed-and-cut alternative to bunched kale.

Salinas, Calif.-based Fresh Express’ organic business has nearly doubled in the last year, said Bob Stallman, general manager for salads and ingredients at Chiquita Brands International.

In September, Fresh Express introduced Organic Baby Sweet Lettuce and Organic 50/50 Mix, bringing its list of organic products to 10. Both come in 5-ounce clamshells for retail.



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