We source, harvest, cool, distribute and market more than 20 different types of fresh and fresh-cut vegetables, including iceberg lettuce, red and green leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, butter lettuce, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, brussels sprouts, green onions, asparagus, snow peas, artichokes and radishes as well as fresh strawberries and raspberries. Products are grown by independent farmers under seasonal contracts, with harvesting primarily provided by us. Many of our fresh-packed vegetables are packaged in the field reducing handling and increasing product quality. We sell our fresh-packed vegetables products primarily in North America, Asia and, to a lesser extent, Western Europe. Based on our estimates, we are the largest supplier of iceberg lettuce and celery, and the third largest producer of cauliflower and strawberries in the U.S. Our primary competitors in this category include: Tanimura & Antle, Duda Farm Fresh Foods, Ocean Mist Farms, the Nunes Company, Inc. and Driscoll Strawberry Associates, Inc.
Our value-added vegetable products include packaged salads and packaged fresh-cut vegetables. Our U.S. unit market share of the packaged salads category for DOLE branded product, as reported by IRI, was approximately 26% for the 2010 fiscal year. New product development continues to drive growth in this area. Packaged salads go through a three-step process: (i) vegetables are grown for us by farmers under seasonal contracts, (ii) vegetables and other ingredients are delivered to our plants where they are washed three times in chilled, chlorinated water, and packaged under strict cold-chain and HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) standards, and (iii) salads are shipped to retailers’ warehouses for delivery to stores. Our primary competitors in packaged salads include Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (which markets Fresh Express), Ready Pac Produce, Inc. and Taylor Fresh Foods, Inc.