Single-serve salads are increasingly on the shopping list, and consumers who crave them continually look for tempting new flavors and added convenience. Apio Inc., a leading producer of fresh-cut vegetables and salads for the United States and Canada under the Eat Smart brand, is answering the call with its new Salad Shake Ups salad bowls. api

The line’s three initial offerings feature 100 percent clean label ingredients with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Each salad’s patented package comes with an interior tray that serves as a lockable lid, making it convenient and easy to mix in the toppings and dressing.

“Our research tells us that these delicious and convenient single-serve salad bowls are just what consumers want,” Anne Byerly, vice president of marketing, said in a press release. “The growing segment of health-focused shoppers want more than products that are simply lower in calories — they also need clean label, nutrient-dense ingredients and restaurant-quality taste. Salad Shake Ups meet those needs, and that’s why we think they’ll bring new consumers to the category and help retailers boost sales and profits in the total single-serve category.”

In Apio consumer taste tests, all three Salad Shake Ups flavors scored equal to or better than the best-selling salad bowl item in the category for overall liking and intent to purchase. Importantly, the products had high purchase appeal among consumers not today in the $500 million single-serve category, which has only 11 percent household penetration, according to Nielsen U.S. Homescan Panel Data.

“Every Salad Shake Ups salad bowl contains at least 10 ingredients, with distinctive and colorful combinations of vegetables, dried fruits, and diverse sources of plant protein that create satisfying flavors and textures,” said Byerly.

The Avocado Ranch single-serve salad bowl is a crunchy blend of red cabbage, Savoy cabbage, shredded cauliflower stalk, curly kale, shredded carrots and freeze-dried corn. It also contains shredded cheddar cheese, roasted sunflower seed kernels, crispy onion pieces, dried currants, naturally flavored bacon bean flakes, and a creamy avocado ranch dressing that complements the ingredients.

The Tropical Lime salad bowl has a tasty blend of vegetables and dried fruits — green cabbage, broccoli stalk, Napa cabbage, curly kale, and Italian kale along with dried pineapple, dried mango and dried papaya. White sesame seeds, crispy quinoa, roasted red quinoa and thin crunchy noodles with a creamy coconut lime chili dressing complete the kit to deliver a mouth-watering flavor experience.

The Raspberry Acai salad bowl blends broccoli stalk, green cabbage, curly kale, radicchio, dried cranberries, and dried blueberries with sliced toasted almonds and three nutritious varieties of seeds (hemp, flax and chia). The tangy raspberry acai dressing tops it off perfectly.

Apio has been recognized for its inventive packaging, and the Salad Shake Ups continue the company’s tradition of innovation. “We were delighted to be awarded the inaugural packaging Innovation award at CPMA on May 10, 2017.  This newly created award recognizes excellence in packaging designed to answer consumer needs and to maximize the sales of fresh produce,” said Byerly.  Each bowl has a unique leaf-shaped, film-sealed top.

“When consumers pull back the top, they find a tray with packets of toppings and a fork,” Byerly said. “They remove the tray to reveal the salad blend, then pour the toppings and the dressing onto the vegetables. Next, they flip over the tray, snap it onto the bowl, shake to mix the ingredients, and then unsnap the lid and eat the salad with the fork. Easy mixing, and no mess — it couldn’t be more convenient!

The introduction of Salad Shake Ups — with their 100 percent clean ingredients — is timely given the accelerating clean food movement, sparked by health-conscious consumers who want to know what is and isn’t in the food they eat. Estimated North American sales of clean label products in 2015 were $62 billion, according to Euromonitor, and 62 percent of consumers globally say they try to avoid artificial preservatives, flavors and colors in their food, according to Nielsen.

Eat Smart plans for all products to contain a 100% Clean Label by the end of 2018. All Eat Smart products will be free from high fructose corn syrup, artificial preservatives, hydrogenated fats, as well as artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners.

“Eat Smart clean label salad bowls provide consumers with healthy options for achieving their personal wellness goals,” said Byerly. “Our new Salad Shake Ups, which promise to invigorate the already popular single-serve category, are the latest examples of Apio’s commitment to consumers and retailers.”

The five-ounce Salad Shake Ups will be available in both the United States and Canada, and have a suggested retail price of $3.99 in the U.S. and $4.99 in Canada.

Organic fresh produce sales are robust and growing throughout the country, accounting for more than 10 percent of all whole produce dollars through the first quarter of 2017, according to the Organic Produce Network. Organic packaged salads remain the category driver, responsible for 20 percent of all organic fresh produce sales. Behind packaged salad sales, organic berries and apples comprised the top three organic fresh produce items sold in March.opn

Teaming with marketing research firm Nielsen, the Organic Produce Network analysis of organic fresh produce sales at retail stores across the country for March 2017 showed organic fresh vegetables accounted for a larger portion of organic dollars than fruits ($189 million compared to $119 million). Of special note, nearly one-third of all carrots and cooking green vegetables were sold as organic during the period.  

Organic berries and apples accounted for nearly two-thirds of all fruit sales ($74 million) during March. Organic fruit commodities sales and volume will grow significantly in the coming months, with organic melon and grapes production beginning in California.  

"Transparency continues to be a driver of growth as a majority of consumers demand to know how their products are made, grown, or raised. Retailers and manufacturers continue to adapt to this trend across the entire store, including produce, where organic sales continue double-digit growth rates, "Andrew Mazursky, director of strategic insight for Nielsen, said in a press release.  

One area of potential opportunity is the underdeveloped value-added organic fresh produce category, as organic value-add items stood at just 5 percent of all value-add sales in March. The marketing of convenience and value-added organic items toward affluent consumers provides a potential opportunity; however, organizations need to be cautious because the additional value may drive the price too high for some customers.

“Partnering with Nielsen to provide OPN readers with the most current and relevant information as it relates to the fastest growing segment of the fresh produce industry is an essential component of our mission and one we look to develop further in the coming months,” Matt Seeley, chief executive officer of OPN, said in the release.  

For more information on March 2017 Organic fresh produce sales click here or here.

Chile opened the doors of its U.S. embassy in Washington, DC, May 6 to more than 4,000 visitors and guests, joining the annual Around the World Embassy Tour. With fresh fruit being one of Chile’s key exports, Fruits from Chile representatives were on hand to showcase and sample the wide variety of fruits available from Chile.

The Around the World Embassy Tour was just one of the highlights of Passport D.C. 2017, a month-long journey around the world highlighting the city's thriving international diplomatic community and its lively and varied culture. More than 40 embassies participated in the tour, giving guests the opportunity to experience the food, art, dance, fashion and music of their respective countries.Susanne-Bertolas-and-Ambassador-Juan-Gabriel-ValdesSusanne Bertolas, Chilean Fresh Fruit Association merchandiser, and Ambassador Juan Gabriel Valdés.

Ambassador Juan Gabriel Valdés received visitors to the Chilean embassy. The residence was filled with music, art and, of course, gourmet food and wines.  Chile welcomed visitors with traditional music from the north, south and center of the country by the tenor Mauricio Miranda.

The embassy also opened all the halls of the residence so guests could enjoy paintings and sculptures of important artists such as Sergio Lira, Mario Toral, Nemesio Antúnez and Sergio Castillo. Guests enjoyed Chilean mussels, sipped on fine Chilean wines and pisco cocktails, and savored Chile’s premium olive oils.  

As one of Chile’s top exports, fresh fruit was in the spotlight. With a wooden cart reminiscent of what one would see years ago in Chile’s outdoor markets, Chilean Fresh Fruit Association merchandiser Susanne Bertolas sampled some of Chile’s finest fruit and introduced guests to the wide range of Chilean fruit enjoyed by U.S. consumers throughout the year.

“We are proud to join the Chilean Embassy as they showcase the finest offerings from Chile,” said Ronald Bown, chairman of the board of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Exporters Association, known more commonly by the acronym ASOEX. “The Chilean fresh fruit industry is committed to providing the U.S. market with a diverse and quality offering of fruits throughout the year, and we appreciate the platform to further introduce our fruits to the American public.”

custU.S. Customs & Border Protection officers at the Port of Nogales recently seized $6.85 million of marijuana commingled with a shipment of Bell peppers.

Officers at the Mariposa Commercial Facility referred a tractor-trailer carrying the peppers, and the 46-year-old Mexican male driver, for further inspection. When the commodity was off-loaded, a CBP narcotics detection canine alerted to an odor it was trained to detect.

Subsequently, officers discovered and removed more than 13,700 pounds of marijuana.

The narcotics and vehicle involved were seized, and the driver was arrested and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Fresh Solutions Network announced the launch of its Side Delights celebration of summer promotional program with three promotions, one for each month of the season: Meet Your New Flame (June), Star Spangled Steamables (July) and Grill Potatoes (August).

Each month-long promotion includes themed in-store merchandiser displays and colorful, coordinating point-of-purchase signage with QR codes featuring a unique Side Delights recipe.

“Summer is grilling season and the perfect time to prompt shoppers to add potatoes — America’s most popular vegetable — to their grocery list,” said Kathleen Triou, president and chief executive officer of Fresh Solutions Network. “The Side Delights celebration of summer promotional program is designed to inspire summer shoppers to purchase potatoes with eye-catching POS and creative recipes.”

Memorial Day is regarded as the unofficial kickoff to grilling season, just in time for the June Side Delights promotion Meet Your New Flame. The promotion will motivate shoppers to add potatoes to their cart and their grill and rewards them with a healthy, easy to prepare and cook recipe for Grilled Potato Bake.

Approximately 214 million people plan to celebrate Independence Day, and will spend an average of $71 per household on food for barbecues and picnics. Accordingly, July Fourth is the most popular grilling day of the year. Shoppers will be encouraged to add potatoes to the menu with July’s Star Spangled Steamables promotion and Red, White and Blue Potato Salad recipe, the perfect accompaniment to whatever is on the grill.

Grilling goes beyond meat with Side Delights August promotion Grill Potatoes. The August signage and displays remind shoppers of the convenience and versatility of cooking potatoes on the grill with a simple recipe for Grilled Potato Planks.

The Side Delights celebration of summer promotional program is now available.