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Apio shaking up single-serve salads

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.