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New variety of watercress makes its U.S. debut

You might think a dark, leafy vegetable that is scientifically proven to do everything from fight cancer to combat the effects of aging would be No. 1 on everybody’s grocery list, but watercress has long been the overlooked miracle green in U.S. grocery aisles.Watercress

Now two iconic produce specialist firms are bidding to change all that.

The Watercress Company and Solata Foods are teaming up to launch an aggressive campaign promoting this healthful superfood.

The Watercress Company is a progressive and enthusiastic grower that produces the finest quality products in a safe and sustainable way across their farms in the United Kingdom, Spain and Florida.

“We are finally giving watercress the star treatment it deserves,” said Tom Amery, managing company director.  “Beginning immediately, The Watercress Company and Solata will showcase watercress as the hot new premium salad, because it’s by far the healthiest thing you can put in your body.

“Launching our Watercress with Solata Foods is a fantastic opportunity as it’s new, exciting and not available in the market," said Amery. "The version we are selling is called Nasturtium and this is the original type that dates back to the ancient Romans and has some incredible properties only found in this version of watercress. The peppery taste is totally unique and will be a huge success in the mixes but also in the solo form as its great in salads, sides, pestos or smoothies. We have many years of experience and understand the strong relationship watercress has with its consumers — they will keep on coming back for more.”

The Watercress Company and Solata Foods will be producing varied combinations of value-added salad blends featuring watercress as the key ingredient. Packaging configurations will include a retail clamshell package as well as a bulk size for foodservice.

Mixes featuring watercress include Nutri-mix, watercress with super greens such as beet tops, chards, and spinach; Britaly, a play on bringing Italian tricolor salad (Frisee, Radicchio and arugula) and swapping the arugula for British-grown watercress; Vita-mix, a combination of arugula, spinach, frisee and watercress; and Hot and Sweet, a blend of baby sweet lettuces and the spiciness of watercress.

“For too long, watercress has been treated by American buyers as a cooking ingredient, rather than a salad ingredient," said Solata’s Chief Executive Officer Roger Zlotoff. "The U.S. market is overdue to upgrade watercress beyond its current status. Asians and Europeans have understood the health benefits of watercress for more than 2,000 years. In the U.K., watercress has been a major staple for the last 125 years. The reason is simple. Watercress truly is one of the most amazing foods on the planet.”

Solata Foods and The Watercress Company are well positioned to upgrade U.S. consumer thinking about watercress and its potential for “salad star power.” The companies will be at the New York Produce Show at booth No. 110.