Dole’s multi-year Get Up & Grow! campaign, “has been so successful” in it is first year, motivating more than 15,000 consumers to pledge to eat more fruits and vegetables and challenge their friends and families to do so as well, that “we are expanding it in 2016,” Carrie Ann Arias, VP of marketing at Dole Fresh Vegetables, told FoodNavigator-USA.
She explained that in addition to helping consumers who make the pledge track their goals, the healthy lifestyle initiative “brought healthy-living insights, recipes, free tastes and unique, hands-on experiences to close to 460 supermarkets in 44 cities across the US and Canada this summer,” Arias said.
The program, which “seeks to impact consumer behavior in the home, at the store, on the road and all points in between,” also offers “compelling new recipes, serving, pairing and entertaining suggestions,” she said.
In addition to the campaign, Dole hopes to entice consumers to eat more produce with the launch of a new type of celery and two Chopped salad kits that feature trendy Brussels sprouts and kale.
In November, the Dole Food Co. introduced an “exclusive consumer-preferred variety of celery hearts” that will replace the firm’s previous offering and should be more desirable for consumers, the firm said.
“DOLE Premium Celery Hearts was developed to feature the products’ attributes that consumers say they want most in celery: a dark green color; compact stalk and optimal height; adequate outer texture; mild flavor with no bitterness; and minimal stringiness,” Arias said.
She was quick to point out that the celery – like all DOLE offerings – is a non-GMO product.
She explained that these preferred qualities come from a proprietary seed variety. In addition, she noted, “by focusing on producing a smooth outer texture and minimally pronounced ridges, plus a very gradual growth maturity, Dole has been able to reduce the stringiness of its Premium Celery Hearts.”
The company also places “a great deal of care into our growing practices to eliminate stringiness. By using high-quality soil and proper irrigation and fertilization, we can decrease stress on the growing plant and minimize stringiness,” Arias added.
Dole calls out many of these attributes in new packaging, which also includes recipes, such as celery potato soup, to help boost consumption of the veggie.
On trend salads
To further increase consumption of fresh fruits and veggies and meet growing consumer demand for pre-made salads, Dole also introduced last month two new salad kits, Arias said.
The new products – DOLE Chopped Poppy Seed and Chopped Pomegranate Salad kits – deliver on consumers’ desire for a “taste-first experience with layers of flavors, texture, color and crunch in every bite,” Arias said.
She explained that some of the added crunch comes from shaved Brussels sprouts and kale – “two increasingly popular, nutrient-dense vegetables that deliver on distinctive taste with high levels of antioxidants, vitamins A, C and K.”
Arias sees continued growth potential in the salad kit segment given strong consumer desire for products that are healthy and have “craveable, on-trend taste profiles that are usually only found at restaurants.”
Likewise, “our research shows that one of the main drivers behind this popularity is the increasing need for convenience as families look for new ways to provide healthy, flavorful meals that are easy and quick,” Arias said.
Like the celery, the salad kits have carefully considered packaging. The packs, which are consistent with other DOLE Chopped salad kits, feature an open window to show the product’s freshness and have serving suggestions, Arias said.