Fresh Express moves to expand Midwest business

Fresh Express moves to expand Midwest businessST. PAUL, Minn. Salinas, Calif.-based Fresh Express will enjoy an expanded presence in the Midwest particularly in Supervalu store produce departments thanks in large part to a new facility and new products.

Appearing as an exhibitor at the Supervalu Northern Region Sales for All Seasons conference Aug. 13-14 in St. Paul, Fresh Express unveiled several new products and expressed excitement about its projected Sept. 1 opening of a 350,000-square-foot processing facility in Streamwood, Ill., a Chicago suburb.

"The Streamwood facility will do everything bagged salad, foodservice, sliced apples, etc. and it"s really going to give us a bigger presence in the Midwest," said Chris Lambert, representing Fresh Express at the show.

Lambert said the new facility will allow retailers to receive the freshest-possible product, drastically cutting shipping time and costs to outlets particularly to Supervalu stores and others in the Upper Midwest.

"The pricing and contract Fresh Express offered makes it very positive for our stores to offer high-quality, value-priced product that is very fresh," said Jaime Rodriguez, senior produce merchandiser for Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Supervalu.

Fresh Express also plans on Aug. 21 to formally launch several products: two-in-one single-serve packs in four varieties, three chopped salad kits and a Baby Kale Mix.

"What Fresh Express has decided to do with the Baby Kale Mix is put chard and baby spinach with kale for a better eating experience, a better bite and better taste," Lambert said. "It"s super-nutritious."

With the new kale bags, Fresh Express hopes to leverage kale"s skyrocketing popularity and target health-conscious consumers. The kale segment"s sales has quadrupled since 2010, according to Fresh Express.

The single packs, separated by a perforation, are designed for smaller households and on-the-go single people who might want to eat some salad for lunch at work and save some for dinner the next night, Lambert said.

The singles line will include: Italian, Baby Spinach, Hearts of Romaine and 50/50 Mix.

New chopped salad kits will include: Southwestern, Asian and Bacon Caesar.



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