Organic produce continues to see sales increases, with organic lettuce and salad mixes one area of strong growth.

Bil Goldfield, director of corporate communications for Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Food Co., cited an Organic Trade Association report that U.S. organic food sales posted a record of $43.3 billion in 2015, an increase of 11% over the previous year and more than three times the overall food growth of 3%.

A July 2016 Organic Consumers Association report indicated 63% of Americans buy organic foods and beverages, and 40% say that organic foods will play a larger role in their diet within the next year.

“Dole is answering the increased demand for organic packaged salads with our expanded Dole Organic Salad line, launched in late 2016, featuring six organic salad mixes including three new varieties and two all-new organic salad kits,” Goldfield said.

Dole’s organic salad mixes:

  • organic spinach in 5-ounce and 16-ounce pack options;
  • organic spring mix in 5-ounce and 16-ounce pack options;
  • organic 50/50 in 5-ounce and 16-ounce pack options;
  • organic kale mix in a 5-ounce pack;
  • organic super spinach in a 5-ounce pack; and
  • organic baby spinach and arugula in a 5-ounce pack.

The Dole organic salad kits included Caesar and Apple Dijon.

“For the first time, Dole consumers can enjoy a fresh, flavorful, restaurant-quality, all-organic salad kit, including baby lettuces, signature dressings and toppings in the preferred clamshell package,” Goldfield said.

Anthony Mazzuca, senior director of commodity management for Salinas, Calif.-based Tanimura & Antle, said the only organic products his company offers are romaine hearts and its proprietary Artisan Romaine.

“They are both doing very well,” he said July 18.

“We launched both programs in mid-May. The artisan variety is taller, sweeter and crisper with very little core and very little waste.”

Tanimura & Antle had not been active in organic produce since selling its share in Earthbound Farm many years ago, Mazzuca said.

Henry Dill, sales manager for Salinas-based Pacific International Marketing Inc., said July 13 that his company “had a pretty consistent run on (organic) leaf lettuce and iceberg lettuce up until recently. Then we lost a couple of fields of both leaf lettuce and iceberg due to the warm temperatures we received in the Salinas valley. We’re currently in a little bit of a gap ourselves and it looks like it will correct itself in the first part of August.”

He estimated that Pacific International Marketing increased its organic acreage about 10% from last year.