(Dec. 31) SAN JUAN BAUTISTA, Calif. — Natural Selection Foods plans to kick off 2004 with a series of new organic products, the first of which is a blend of chopped romaine and spring mix.

Attendees of October’s Produce Marketing Association convention in Orlando, Fla., got a preview of the blend, which is called the Coastal salad blend and began shipping under the Earthbound Farm label in mid-December.

“A lot of restaurants have been combining romaine and spring mix in the backroom,” said Larry Hamwey, vice president of marketing. “But we’re the first to actually offer a blend like this.”

The 10-ounce bags feature the eye-catching designs of the Earthbound Farm Blends line and have a suggested retail price of $2.79-2.99.

The Earthbound Farm blend includes a mix of organic romaine, radicchio and baby lettuces, Hamwey said. The blends come six to a case and 120 cases per pallet.

They are available at Natural Selection’s distribution centers in Yuma, Ariz., and San Juan Bautista, as well as delivered from the company’s forward distribution centers in Indiana and New Jersey.

The introduction of a new organic blend takes advantage of two trends in produce, Hamwey said. First, a year after the initiation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program, more people are choosing to eat organic produce.

According to a 2003 Whole Foods Market Organic Foods Trend Tracker, 54% of Americans polled said they have tried organic foods, with 29% saying they eat more organics than a year ago.

Hamwey said the company plans to introduce additional products in the coming weeks.

Natural Selection launches new organic products
Coastal salad blend and began shipping under the Earthbound Farm label in mid-December. It has organic romaine, radicchio and baby lettuces. The blends come six to a case and 120 cases per pallet. The suggested retail price is $2.79-2.99.