Organic Baby Sweet Lettuce
Organic Baby Sweet Lettuce

(UPDATED COVERAGE, Sept. 22) Fresh Express has added two salad mixes to its organic line and is backing them with an outreach to retailers and consumers.

The new mixes, Organic Baby Sweet Lettuce and Organic 50/50 Mix, bring the list of Fresh Express organic products to 10. Both come in 5-ounce clamshells for retail.

“They started hitting shelves late last week, with more customers taking them on in the coming weeks,” Bob Stallman, general manager for salads and ingredients at Chiquita Brands International, said Sept. 19. Fresh Express is a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based Chiquita.

The expansion follows sales growth in the line.

“Our organic business performance is excellent,” Stallman said. “It’s nearly doubled in the last year.”

By comparison, conventional packaged salad sales are up just 1.5% to 2% a year, he said.

“Certainly organic is a very fast-growing segment of the salad category and even the total produce department,” Stallman said. “We want to provide our customers the convenience of one-stop shopping for both organic and conventional.”

Marketing materials also tout Fresh Express’ organic certifications at field and plant levels, and its food safety program, including Chiquita’s Fresh Rinse wash technology.

The company’s other organic offerings are Baby Arugula; Baby Italian; Baby Romaine; Baby Spinach; Fresh Herb Salad; Romaine Lettuce Hearts; and -– in two sizes -– Spring Mix.

“We’re going to find more of these different kinds of lettuces, or new ways to grow them, to help expand the variety of the category,” Stallman said. “We’re trying to find new taste experiences so that consumers are more likely to eat them at every meal.”

Fresh Express’ marketing campaign, “Organic But More,” includes one-on-one contact with retailers and appearances in trade publications and at the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit, booth 1947, in October.

The contact number for retailers is 831-775-2300. Product information is online at www.freshexpress.com.

For consumers, Stallman said, marketing will be online, with recipes one feature.

For the Organic Baby Sweet Lettuce mix, ingredients include baby red and baby green romaine; baby red and baby green leaf; baby red and baby green oak; baby lollo rossa and baby tango; and baby spinach.

The Organic 50/50 Mix salad mix blends baby spinach with romaine, green leaf, green oak, tango, lollo rossa, red leaf, red oak, red romaine and red butter lettuces plus arugula and radicchio.