- Dole Food has redesigned its salad kit packages to give consumers a color-coded approach to choosing which of the company's 47 salads are right for them, according to a company release.
- Dole is debuting its salad package design system at the Produce Marketing Association's Fresh Summit being held Oct. 19 to Oct. 21 in New Orleans. It will launch the new packaging next month in U.S. stores.
- Since the first Dole salad appeared in 1993, consumer preferences have significantly evolved, said William Goldfield, Dole's director of corporate communications. "Our salad bag redesign is the most comprehensive effort by Dole to rethink the packaged salad category in close to a decade, and is being driven both by consumer demand and the continued growth of salad as the basis of a healthier diet and lifestyle," he said in a statement.
Dole learned consumers want a cleaner and more contemporary design to better communicate product benefits. The redesign uses a different color for each Dole salad category — Mild Basics, Leafy & Robust, Mixers, Classic Kits, Premium Kits and Chopped Kits — and specifies product contents, ingredients and key nutritional benefits.
People seeking healthy products that also are convenient and easy to prepare tend to gravitate toward salad kits, which continue to be popular. Sales of packaged salads represented 7.8% of total produce sales during the 52 weeks ending July 2, 2016, according to data supplied by Nielsen Perishables Group.
A report from the United Fresh Produce Association found an increase in sales of fresh produce last year — 1.5% more volume and 3.6% in weekly dollar sales. It's no wonder stores such as Walmart have expanded their produce selections, benefiting Dole, Fresh Del Monte and other companies in the process. The report showed produce represents 33% of all fresh grocery sales, second only to the meat department.
It's likely the popularity of Dole's salad kit products will be enhanced by the redesigned packaging. Consumers appreciate when a food company takes their comments and concerns seriously, and it will be interesting to see if Dole will be rewarded with higher sales. It remains to be seen if other bagged salad companies will emulate this packaging strategy, or if it catches on across different fresh categories.
Packaging changes, especially those that offer consumers more information about the contents of the item they are buying, often are an effective way to increase sales. In 2011, Coca-Cola started its "Share a Coke" campaign, where people could personalize the beverage with their name. In 2014, the company saw an increase in sales after it ran it in the U.S. Nestle's Lean Cuisine redesign helped drive a sales increase of $58 million in the following year. Dole can only hope that its changes have the same effect.