Industry poised to make most of National Salad Month

May is National Salad Month.
May is National Salad Month.
(Photo courtesy of the Association for Dressings and Sauces)

May is National Salad Month, and for grocery retailers across the country, it is an opportunity to build eye-catching displays in-store, as well as to launch social media campaigns celebrating everything from greens and other vegetables to fruits and nuts. For suppliers, the month devoted to all things salads is also an opportunity for sales growth.

It’s a tradition that has endured for 30 years. The Association for Dressings and Sauces launched National Salad Month in May of 1992.

“This was in response to a 1991 Gallup Poll that revealed that three out of four people ate a tossed salad at least every other day,” Jeannie Milewski, executive director of the Association for Dressings and Sauces, told The Packer. “Salads and salad dressings are so much a part of the meal routine that many people have forgotten the integral role they play in a balanced diet.” 

Whether or not salad consumption has become second nature, moving into National Salad Month, sales of leafy greens, kits and ready-to-eat offerings remain strong with consumers.

“Both lettuce and salad kits are top 10 sellers with an unbelievable pandemic performance,” said Anne-Marie Roerink, principal of 210 Analytics, pointing to IRI data. “Salad kits have been experiencing double-digit growth for practically two years, as the majority of consumers create hybrid meals in which they mix and match items they cook from scratch with semi- and fully-prepared items.”

While salad kits are high on the list of items people combine with meat and sides cooked from scratch, at-home lunch consumption is further driving sales, said Roerink.

“Since the start of the pandemic, significantly more people work from home, and with that, a lot of lunches have moved to the home,” she noted. “Lunch has always been that occasion where people are in a hurry and are looking for a quick solution, whether a sandwich, leftovers or a salad. Instead of grabbing a salad from the deli prepared foods department or at a restaurant, that salad occasion has moved to a retail spend for many consumers who work at home.”

A look at the top sellers in fresh vegetables for the 52 weeks ending March 27, 2022, according to IRI data, reveals that salad kits are now the third largest seller behind tomatoes and potatoes.

“And the gap with both has shrunk to within reach, especially as salad kits are still growing and tomatoes and potatoes have year-on-year declines,” said Roerink.

Suppliers gear up for May

A number of suppliers are preparing for National Salad Month with merchandising tips and new product launches.

This month, Oxnard, Calif.-based vegetable grower Boskovich Family Farms is set to debut Green Fork, a new brand featuring 11 stock-keeping units under the Fresh Prep LLC label.

“Green Fork is set to change the way customers think about meals with inviting and playful prepackaged salad kits, tender leaves, salad blends and packaged vegetables,” said the company. 

Aiming to bring a new personality and “elevated, youthful edge to the prepackaged category,” Green Fork is the brainchild of Deep Silver, senior director of marketing at Fresh Prep and Boskovich Family Farms.

“Green Fork is an opportunity to welcome younger consumers seeking consistency and healthy, convenient options to our brands and improve sales within the demographic for our retail partners,” said Silver, who sees the new brand filling a gap in grocery offerings and capturing new customers.

The new Green Fork line, which introduces modern flavors and combinations in brightly colored packaging, will launch with two salad kits: Slammin’ Sesame and Marvelous Mediterranean; two tender leaves and two salad blends: Awesome Arugula, Sweet Baby Spinach, Garden Party and Simply Spring; and five prepackaged vegetables: Cilantro Pronto, Italian-O Parsley, Curiously Curly Parsley, Radish Squad and Bae-Bae Bok Choy. 

The vegetables are also packaged in containers featuring individual UPC codes that are designed to simplify self-checkout, the company added.

Don’t forget the fruit

Other produce companies, such as the Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Food Company, with its lines of kits, salad mixes, slaws and ready-to-eat salad bowls, encourage retailers to go deep and broad with the term “salad.”

“The good news for retailers is salad has such a broad connotation for consumers,” said William Goldfield, director of corporate communications for Dole Food Company. “It’s a great opportunity to lean into the traditional category of spring mixes, leafy greens, chopped and mixed lettuce blends — with variety and flavor information, main and side dish recipes, and education.”

Retailers can also promote an array of produce purchases during National Salad Month with fruit salads, beans and cooked vegetable salads, potato salads, slaws and more, said Goldfield.

“It's an opportunity to showcase nearly every item in the department for an entire month,” he continued. “Dole offers such a broad selection of packaged salads, fresh-packed vegetables and whole fresh fruit that every consumer can find exactly what they want to celebrate National Salad Month throughout May.”

The Association for Dressings and Sauces has a number of resources available to retailers on its website. Here, retailers can download the official National Salad Month logo and branding guidelines.




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