Fresh Express moves to expand Midwest businessST. PAUL, Minn. — Salinas, Calif.-based Fresh Express will enjoy an expanded presence in the Midwest — particularly in Supervalu store produce departments — thanks in large part to a new facility and new products.

Appearing as an exhibitor at the Supervalu Northern Region Sales for All Seasons conference Aug. 13-14 in St. Paul, Fresh Express unveiled several new products and expressed excitement about its projected Sept. 1 opening of a 350,000-square-foot processing facility in Streamwood, Ill., a Chicago suburb.

“The Streamwood facility will do everything — bagged salad, foodservice, sliced apples, etc. — and it’s really going to give us a bigger presence in the Midwest,” said Chris Lambert, representing Fresh Express at the show.

Lambert said the new facility will allow retailers to receive the freshest-possible product, drastically cutting shipping time and costs to outlets — particularly to Supervalu stores and others in the Upper Midwest.

“The pricing and contract Fresh Express offered makes it very positive for our stores to offer high-quality, value-priced product that is very fresh,” said Jaime Rodriguez, senior produce merchandiser for Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Supervalu.

Fresh Express also plans on Aug. 21 to formally launch several products: two-in-one single-serve packs in four varieties, three chopped salad kits and a Baby Kale Mix.

“What Fresh Express has decided to do with the Baby Kale Mix is put chard and baby spinach with kale for a better eating experience, a better bite and better taste,” Lambert said. “It’s super-nutritious.”

With the new kale bags, Fresh Express hopes to leverage kale’s skyrocketing popularity and target health-conscious consumers. The kale segment’s sales has quadrupled since 2010, according to Fresh Express.

The single packs, separated by a perforation, are designed for smaller households and on-the-go single people who might want to eat some salad for lunch at work and save some for dinner the next night, Lambert said.

The singles line will include: Italian, Baby Spinach, Hearts of Romaine and 50/50 Mix.

New chopped salad kits will include: Southwestern, Asian and Bacon Caesar.