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Apio launches single-serve salad line

In early April, Apio Inc. was planning to launch its new single-serve product line called Salad Shake Ups.

Vice President of Marketing Anne Byerly told The Produce News in late March that the finishing touches were being made and on April 3 the first shipment would leave the company’s facilities in Guadalupe, CA, which is in the heart of the Santa Maria Valley. A week later, Byerly said the product would be rolled out in Canada as well.

Apio has been a consistent player in the multi-serve salad kit arena but this is its first effort in what Byerly called the $550 million single-serve category. The firm’s initial foray will include three flavors: Avocado Ranch, Tropical Lime and Raspberry Acai. The line is called Salad Shake Up because it uses a patented tray that calls for the consumer to empty the components of the salad in the bottom container, invert the lid and literally shake it up to mix the ingredients.

The Apio executive said research revealed that one of the frustrating issues in the single serve salad category is that it is messy to mix the dressing with the other ingredients. “Typically these salads are consumed at work at a desk and mixing the salad results in half the dressing ending up on your desk,” she said. “We’e solved that issue.”

She added that the main consumers of single-serve salads are women between the ages of 18 and 54, which is Apio’s target audience for this line. She said users tend to be health- and nutrition-conscious. But Byerly also said there is lots of room for growth in this category. “Research shows that there is only 11 percent household penetration. We think there is room for many new users in the single-serve category.”

She said that is especially true in Canada where there is even more room for product growth in that arena.

The containers will include what Byerly calls super foods, which will be a mixture of the firm’s nutrient-dense salad blends. Those blends do not use romaine or iceberg lettuce but rely rather on vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, beet greens, carrots and chicory. The single-serve salads have a shelf life of 17 days and the suggested retail price is $3.99. They will be branded with Apio’s Eat Smart brand.

Apio recently introduced what it called its 100% Clean Label to trade on the clean food movement. The firm defines clean food as that which is “free from high-fructose corn syrup, artificial preservatives, hydrogenated fats, as well as artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners.” The company is committed to having all of its products fit this definition by the end of 2018. Bylerly said the single-serve offerings are already in that category.