Last Updated on November 3, 2020 by Novotaste
With flavors like Maple Bourbon Bacon and descriptions like Ranch-seasoned crouton crumble, roasted sunflower seeds and a creamy ranch dressing, today’s packaged salad components read more like menu items.
“Perhaps due to current dining restrictions, consumers are increasingly looking to replicate their favorite restaurant salad flavors at home,” said Bil Goldfield, director of corporate communications for Dole Food Co., Charlotte, N.C.
Dole will roll out 17 new salad SKUs in 2020, he said, including additions to Premium, Chopped! and Slawsome! salad kit lines.
The new SKUs, a chicken club BLT, Backyard BBQ and Avocado Ranch, all chicken-based, come in a new clear, straight-sided bowl to give consumers more space for mixing, tossing and enjoying ingredients without spilling.
The company is also launching four Just Add Chicken salad kits (with a suggested price of $4.29) in October, providing salad lovers with everything they need to create “a restaurant-caliber culinary experience” for two.
The kit combines chopped Dole lettuces, a crunchy topping, vinaigrette, sauce for sauteing two store-bought chicken breasts and a finishing sauce to drizzle on top. Flavors available are Pesto Caesar, Sweet Orange, Roasted Red Pepper and Lemon Herb Pepper.
Caesar salad, a huge favorite in restaurants and in the packaged salad aisle, is getting a twist at Salinas, Calif.-based Fresh Express Inc., said Fabian Pereira, vice president of marketing, innovation and international.
“Our family-sized Caesar kit grew 28% as consumers look for DIY restaurant-quality meals at home to help their pocketbook while providing an indulgent experience,” Pereira said.
Fresh Express’ new Twisted Caesar avocado, Twisted Caesar Greek and Twisted Caesar Asian are already showing “stellar” sales, he said, as is the company’s new Thai ’N Cashews Chopped Kit.
Salinas-based Earthbound Farm and Taylor Farms Organic, meanwhile, have launched two new organic kits: Earthbound Farm Classic Caesar Kit and Organic Honey Mustard Kit.
“Their success shows there is demand for organic kits when we deliver fantastic products at the right price for consumers,” according to a Taylor Farms spokesperson.
The company is also launching its first Italian and Mexican-inspired kits — Lemon Pesto Meal Kit and Southwest Meal Kit — a blend of vegetables, cheese and rice or pasta.
“Along with our traditional stir-fry kits, these new kits are convenient and healthy meal solutions for families still eating at home,” according to the company.
As for organic packaged salads, category favorites baby spinach and spring mix have returned to growth during COVID-19 and still account for 56% of total category dollars in the past 52 weeks, according to Taylor Farms.
Organic romaine hearts are showing huge growth as consumers look for an option to add crunch to their baby leaf salads, according to the company, while organic blends, which make up a majority of the category, grew 13.9% in the past 26 weeks.