With the demand for pomegranate aril products on the rise, companies have introduced some new options for consumers to take advantage of the trend.

Firebaugh, Calif.-based Ruby Fresh Pomegranates introduced a single-serving size option for its Salad Jewels pomegranate line, said David Anthony, sales.

The company released the salad enhancement kits for the first time last year at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit.

Each kit includes pomegranate arils, chopped nuts, and either cheese or bacon, in a divided container, to be mixed with a bag of lettuce, spinach or other salad ingredients

“It was received very well,” Anthony said.

Then, in the early spring, the company did some test shipments with targeted retailers. After feedback from consumers, the company decided to adjust their package size.

“We decided to offer a single serving size for an individual or a small family,” Anthony said.

The Salad Jewels are also offered in a club-size pack, which can be used in a salad that will serve eight or more people.

“It makes a nice dinner salad to serve with a group of friends,” Anthony said.

Anthony said the idea for the product came from a staff meeting where lunch was served. The meal included a salad made with several Ruby Fresh products, including pomegranate arils, almonds and cheese.

“We just realized how great it was and thought consumers would really love it,” he said. “With a creamy dressing of your choice, it makes a fabulous salad.”

The Salad Jewels line currently includes three varieties:

• Sparkling Spring Mix with arils, walnuts and gorgonzola cheese;

• Brilliant Southern Blend with arils, bacon and pecans; and

• Gleaming Mediterranean Medley with arils, almonds and feta cheese.

Anthony said the company has high hopes for the line to do well at retail. He said the new product size should hit retail stores around Oct. 1.

In the future, the company has plans to possibly expand the line.

“We hope to release some other ingredient combinations and varieties,” Anthony said.

He said the line might even expand to other meals, such as breakfast.

“We’d like to do some fun things around the breakfast table and I can see the line maturing to include more varieties,” he said.

Arils for schools

Ruby Fresh has also developed a new product for kids.

“We’re introducing a new snack cup at PMA this year that is target specifically for children,” Anthony said.

Anthony said the idea came from school districts’ demand for aril products.

“We had a lot of requests from school lunch programs for arils,” he said.

The company designed a 4-ounce cup with a shaker lid so students can eat pomegranate arils easily, without the need for a spoon.

“We wanted to come up with a fun and easy way for kids to eat arils, so they can just shake this into their mouth and eat them,” Anthony said.

The product includes kid-friendly packaging with fun designs and information about pomegranates, according to Anthony.

He said he hopes children will eat the product at school and then request it at home.

“It’s certainly exciting to see school districts serving arils when they would normally just order apples or oranges. It’s a great sign for the produce industry in general,” he said.