MONTEREY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Continuing its leadership in packaged salad innovation and new product development, Dole is introducing the industry’s first all-natural chopped salad line to include both kits and blends. All Natural DOLE® Chopped Salads – consisting of three all-natural chopped salad kits formulated with kale and two chopped salad blends, all industry firsts – arrive in stores in mid-September 2013 and deliver exactly what consumers say they want in a chopped salad: a taste-first experience featuring layers of flavor, texture, color and crunch in every bite.
The development of Dole’s five new chopped salads follows extensive consumer research into chopped salad attitudes, flavor preferences and other trends, and is consistent with the company’s commitment to all-natural salad kit ingredients.
Dole’s three new chopped salad kits include:
- All Natural DOLE Chipotle & Cheddar Chopped Salad Kit combines cheddar cheese and cheddar tortilla strips with crunchy green and red cabbage, crisp Romaine, kale, sweet carrots, green onions and Dole’s Chipotle Ranch dressing.
- All Natural DOLE Bacon & Bleu Chopped Salad Kit features Applewood smoked bacon mixed with crunchy green and red cabbage, crisp Romaine, kale, sweet carrots, green onions and Dole’s original Blue Cheese dressing.
- All Natural DOLE BBQ Ranch Chopped Salad Kit contains crispy fried onions, cheddar tortilla chips, crunchy green and red cabbage, crisp Romaine, kale, sweet carrots and green onions, plus Dole’s tangy BBQ Ranch dressing.
Joining the kits for the launch are two new chopped salad blends consisting of a mix of fresh-cut lettuces and vegetables and representing the industry’s first packaged chopped salad blends. Research shows that consumers welcome the chance to use chopped salad blends as the base to create their own, more elaborate chopped salad creations.
- All Natural DOLE Asian Chopped Salad Blend boasts crunchy green and red cabbage, kale, broccoli slaw, snap peas and sweet carrots. In addition to inspiring salad experimentation, this blend is ideal as the foundation for a stir-fry.
- All Natural DOLE Summer Garden Chopped Salad Blend mixes green and red cabbage with crisp Romaine, radishes, green onions and sweet carrots.
According to Chris Mayhew, VP of marketing for Dole Fresh Vegetables, Dole’s five research-driven new offerings allow salad lovers to create some of their favorite, restaurant-inspired salads at home – and to even customize them with their own ingredients.
“Consumers tell us they want chopped salad varieties that combine the health benefits of a salad with craveable, on-trend taste profiles that can’t easily be recreated at home,” she said. “They say they expect their chopped salads to be a taste-first experience; be more filling than regular salad kits and blends, offer unique ingredients and bite-sized pieces, and be ‘green enough’ to be considered guiltless.
“All Natural DOLE Chopped Salad Kits simultaneously deliver on all of these consumer wishes. Plus, the new chopped salad blends offer the opportunity for salad lovers to add their own lean protein, toppings, dressings and other extras to produce inspired new culinary creations that they can call their own.”
Capitalizing on Simultaneous Salad Trends
Dole’s new Chopped Salad line leverages the growing consumer preference for chopped salads, a trend that is being realized in restaurants and in the home. Already the fastest-growing salad trend in the casual dining segment, as evidenced by the proliferation of chopped salad restaurants like Chop’t, chopped salad is expected to be one of the next big trends for the at-home, packaged-salad consumer.
The three new kits also capitalize on the some of the industry’s most popular, fastest-growing dressing and ingredient flavors including Chipotle and Ranch dressings, cheddar and bleu cheeses, and Applewood bacon. Adding to this on-trend positioning is the fact that all three kits and the Asian blend have been specifically formulated with kale, the increasingly popular green that combines a distinctive taste with high levels of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K, calcium and phytonutrients.
“While kale continues to surge in popularity, we included it in our new chopped salads for reasons that go beyond current trends,” said Markus Eriksson, Dole Fresh Vegetables senior brand manager of product development. “Kale was used as a flavor enhancer, to optimize the taste profile and to add specific color and health benefits. It is one of the primary product attributes, along with all-natural ingredients, that distinguishes Dole’s chopped salads line.”
As one of the world’s largest providers of packaged salads, Dole has a long history of anticipating the latest trends to offer consumers innovative new products combining quality, variety, convenience and taste. With the addition of the five new DOLE Chopped Salad blends and kits, salad lovers can now choose from 49 separate DOLE Salad options, including chopped salads, award-winning kits and blends, slaws, clamshells and convenience-oriented value sizes.
Industry-leading All-Natural Positioning
In addition to boasting new-to-the-industry flavor varieties, Dole’s chopped salad kits and blends represent the industry’s first all-natural chopped salad line – meaning they contain no artificial colors, flavors or ingredients. Just like Dole’s other salad kits, the commitment to wholesome, 100% natural ingredients extends to the very bottom of every DOLE Chopped Salad Kit bag.
Dole’s commitment to all-natural salad kits includes not only the lettuces and vegetables but all other kit ingredients including nuts, croutons, cheeses, seasonings and dressings. This pledge is a direct response to years of consumer research showing that many salad consumers, while recognizing the healthy, flavorful appeal of packaged salads, have reservations about the wholesomeness of certain salad kit ingredients, especially the dressings and toppings.
All Natural DOLE Chopped Salad Kits and Blends are packaged in the same eye-catching, open-design bags offering product benefits, pairing and serving suggestions, nutrition and other information. The suggested retail prices (SRPs) of $3.99 and $2.99-$3.29 are consistent with Dole’s other kits and blends, respectively.
The line will be supported by an aggressive launch campaign encompassing digital FSI and other advertising; digital, website, in-store and on-pack couponing; and comprehensive in-store/POS and PR programs. Dole will specifically target trial by top-tier food bloggers as well as the close to 1 million salad fans that follow Dole’s Facebook and Twitter pages or are members of the Dole Salad Circle online community.
About DOLE Salads
DOLE Salads is one of the world’s largest lines of packaged salads, with 47 unique salad blends and all-natural salad kits. The line is supported by a comprehensive online library of salad and salad-based recipes, serving suggestions and entertaining tips, as well as various consumer-friendly tools like the on-pack DOLE® Salad Guide, Taste and Texture scales, and “Pairs well with” feature, as well as the Dole Salad Circle online community of salad lovers. For details, go to www.dolesalads.com or the DOLE Salads Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dolesalads.
About Dole Food Company, Inc.
Dole Food Company with 2012 revenues of $4.2 billion, is one of the world’s largest producers and marketers of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, Dole is an industry leader in many of the products it sells, as well as in nutrition education and research. For more information, please visit www.dole.com or http://investors.dole.com.