( Courtesy Solata Foods )

United Kingdom-based The Watercress Co. and Newburgh, N.Y.-based leafy greens supplier Solata Foods have plans to elevate watercress in the U.S. with retail and foodservice products.

The companies announced plans to introduce combinations of value-added salad blends featuring watercress at the key ingredient, with retail clamshells packs and bulk foodservice offerings.

The companies plan an “aggressive campaign” supporting watercress products, according to a news release.

“For too long, watercress has been treated by American buyers as a cooking ingredient, rather than a salad ingredient,” Solata Foods CEO Roger Zlotoff said in the release. “The U.S. market is overdue to upgrade watercress beyond its current status.”

The Watercress Co. grows in the U.K., Spain and Florida.

“We are finally giving watercress the star treatment it deserves,” Tom Amery, managing director of the Dorchester, Dorset-based The Watercress Co.  “Beginning immediately, The Watercress Company and Solata will showcase watercress as the hot new premium salad, because it’s by far the healthiest thing you can put in your body.”

Products include:

  • Nutri-mix: Watercress and other greens such as beet tops, chards and spinach;
  • Britaly: A play on Italian tri-color salad, and subbing British-grown watercress for arugula in the blend, which also contains frisee and radicchio;
  • Vita-mix: arugula, spinach, frisee and watercress; and
  • Hot and Sweet, a blend of baby sweet lettuces and watercress.

“The peppery taste is totally unique and will be a huge success in the mixes but also in the solo form as its great in salads, sides, pestos or smoothies,” Amery said in the release. “We have many years of experience and understand the strong relationship watercress has with its consumers — they will keep on coming back for more.”

The two companies plan to focus on the health benefits of watercress, which is the only food to score a perfect 100 on a list of fruits and vegetables ranked by nutrient density by researchers working with the National Institutes of Health, according to the release.

Hudson Valley Greens, regional distributor for Solata Farms, also distributes watercress to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, according to the release. Solata Foods sources baby greens and lettuces from the East and West coasts, according to the release.

Representatives from the companies will be at booth No. 110 at the New York Produce Show, Dec. 10-13 in New York City.