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Salad Aficionado

Dole debuted a reinvention of its packaged salad lineup yesterday, and the concept behind this launch is really kind of cool. The line of 32 blends and nine salad kits all feature a new “Dole salad guide” with two scales to help define each blend’s taste (from “mild” to “bold” on a scale of 1 to 5) and texture (from “tender” to “crunchy,” also on a scale of 1 to 5). They also all feature a new “pairs well with” guide, which suggests ideal dressings, fruits, vegetables and other accompaniments that shoppers could use to spruce up their salads.

Ray DeRiggi, president of Dole Fresh Vegetables, told me that the goal of the new salad guide is to “get people more engaged, and expand their purchase options.” Research apparently shows that almost 40% of shoppers will opt not to buy a salad if their favorite blend is not in stock, and the numbering and merchandising scheme envisioned with the salad guide is geared toward encouraging those shoppers to expand their horizons and reach for something similar rather than walking away.

Personally, though, I was impressed with the “pairs well with” guide, and the simple recipes on the back of the bag. Wine, cheese, coffee and beer people have been doing this forever. There’s a huge variety of flavors and textures that can be created with blends of greens, and salad is probably one of the only foods where it’s equally easy to create something great and to create something boring with the same set of cooking skills. You just need a little bit of knowledge. Anyway, I thought this was one of the more interesting things out there today. It just seems like a cool way to give shoppers new ideas, and get them to explore a little.