Seven New Fresh Salad Kits That Pack Protein

healhty vegan lunch bowl. Avocado, quinoa, sweet potato, tomato, spinach and chickpeas vegetables salad. Top view

Giving consumers the option of a ‘full’ meal in these packages can help drive sales.

While too many carbohydrates or too few fats are a concern on some popular diets, it’s protein that always seems to be the good guy in the middle, whether its Keto, Paleo, Whole30, Atkins or simply a flexitarian-style of eating.

What’s more, it’s now a mix of proteins that are in demand. This includes traditional animal-based protein such as meat, poultry and cheese.

In fact, 67 percent of U.S. consumers believe ‘meat is essential to a balanced diet,’ while 51 percent say ‘a meal is not complete without meat,’ according to Technomic’s Menu Monitor, in February 2018.

At the same time, plant-based proteins such as grains, nuts and seeds are getting more respect.

A 2018 report by New York-based food consultants Baum and Whiteman  revealed more than 30 percent of Americans have meat-free days, and about 83 percent are adding more plant-based foods to their diets. Toss this protein-trend together with the popularity of prepackaged salads — the No. 1 selling vegetable SKU at retail in 2018, according to FreshFacts on Retail, Year in Review, by the Washington, DC-headquartered United Fresh Produce Association — and this serves up several potential best-selling products for the produce department. Below are seven items, listed alphabetically by company.

Dole Food Company

DOLE Bountiful Kit

Westlake Village, CA

This new four-item line of packaged salad kits (8.4 to-10 ounces) combines lettuces, vegetables, grains, seeds and other ingredients into an all-fresh salad experience typically reserved for restaurants and deli counters. Varieties include: Sweet Thai (iceberg, green leaf and carrots, with a pouch-contained blend of edamame, black beans, red rice and sesame seeds, with Sweet Thai Chili Dressing), Lentil Cucumber (green leaf, iceberg, radishes, and red cabbage combined with a blend of marinated green, black and red lentils, with Cucumber Vinaigrette), Fiesta Ranch (green leaf, iceberg, red cabbage and carrots, blend of corn, black beans and red bell peppers, with Taco Ranch Dressing), and Triple Quinoa (kale and carrots, blend of red, white and black quinoa and chickpeas, with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette. These four kits will available at supermarkets nationwide by early May 2019.

FiveStar Gourmet Foods, Inc.

Simply Fresh MiniMeals2Go

Ontario, CA

Two of the company’s newest Simply Fresh-brand MiniMeals2Go products are a 9.15-ounce pack of Buffalo Style Chicken and Blue Cheese Dip with fresh-cut celery and carrot sticks, and an 8.25-ounce pack of Grilled Chicken and Hummus, with fresh-cut zucchini, carrot sticks and grape tomatoes. These items, part of a five-item line, provide from 17 to 19 grams of protein and 280 to 350 calories. The company’s patented fresh-seal technology enables products to maintain optimum freshness and shelf life. The other three items in the line are: Artichoke Dip and Genoa Sausage with grapes and mini red peppers; Mediterranean Falafel and Hummus, with fresh-cut zucchini, carrot sticks and cherry tomatoes; and Greek Yogurt, Berries and Granola with fresh-cut apples.

Mann Packing Co., Inc.

Basil Pesto Nourish Bowl & Tomato

Bolognese Nourish Bowl

Salinas, CA

Mann introduced kohlrabi noodles and plant-based protein into two of its single-serve Nourish Bowls offerings last year. In addition to kohlrabi, the Basil Pesto Nourish Bowl product has shredded kale, sauce with “vegan Chik’n” and grated Parmesan. The Tomato Bolognese Nourish Bowl includes marinara sauce with vegan sausage, shredded carrots and grated Parmesan. Both bowls, 10.75- and 11.5-ounces in size respectively, offer between 14 to 15 grams of protein, from  260 to 340 calories, and can be microwave-prepared in four minutes.


Sweet Earth Taco Salad Kit and Asian Wrap Kit

Monterey, CA

Misionero has partnered with Sweet Earth Foods, a Moss Landing, CA-based manufacturer of vegan and vegetarian foods, to create two kits that contain Seitan. Seitan is made from gluten, the major protein in wheat. The 12.5-ounce Sweet Earth Taco Salad kit contains lettuce, cabbage, bean and corn salsa, jack and Cheddar cheese, chipotle-flavored Seitan, tortilla strips and jalapeño ranch dressing. The 8-ounce Crispy Asian Wraps kit comes with cosmo lettuce (a type of Romaine), Asian Seitan stir-fry, puffed rice and sesame, and sriracha sauce. Each offers 7 and 6 grams of protein per serving, respectively.

Pero Family Farms

Grab n’ Go Organic Salad Kit

with Plant Protein

Delray Beach, FL

The plant-protein consumer demand trend is one major inspiration behind development of this new four-item line. Selections include: Apple Quinoa (kale, red cabbage, broccoli stalk, dried apples, quinoa, pepitas and red wine vinegar), Italian Harvest (kale, green and red cabbage, chard, sundried tomatoes, garbanzo beans, chia seeds and balsamic vinaigrette), Southwest (kale, broccoli stalk, green and red cabbage, carrots, toasted quinoa, pepitas and southwest vinaigrette), and Sweet Kale (kale, broccoli, green and red cabbage, swiss chard, dried mixed berries, sunflower seeds and a raspberry vinaigrette). Products are single-serve, range from 4.75 to 5.25 ounces, provide 5 to 7 grams of protein and contain 180 to 210 calories. These four products also check the vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free boxes. 

Ready Pac Produce Inc.

Heat & Eat Harvest Bowls and Fresh

Picked Gourmet Entrée Salads

Irwindale, CA

Newly introduced Bonduelle Heat & Eat Harvest Bowls and Bonduelle Fresh Picked Gourmet Entrée Salads feature fresh vegetables, with satiating, tasty cuts of roasted chicken, beef, turkey and ham, as well as plant-based proteins such as chickpeas and ancient grains like farro and freekeh, to create a quick and easy meal. These products help to bring plant-based foods to the center of the plate while still incorporating meat proteins, which is something important to consumers.

The Harvest Bowls come in four chef-crafted recipes: Chipotle Chicken, Korean Inspired Beef, Moroccan Inspired Chicken, and Basil Pesto Turkey. Each is single-serve — ranging from 9 to 10.75 ounces — with 13- to 19 grams of protein and 280 to 410 calories. Availability is currently limited to Albertsons Group stores and Costco in California, with plans for national distribution later this year.

The Fresh Picked Gourmet Entrée Salads are a line of restaurant-inspired, premium entrée salads that elevate time-tested recipes with unique, on-trend ingredients such as shaved Parmesan cheese, quinoa, hearty cuts of meat, crunchy toppings and flavorful dressings. These salads are packaged in a larger rectangular bowl with a simplified design that puts the high-end, fresh ingredients at the forefront. Varieties include: Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken, Sonora Inspired Salad with Grilled Chicken, Spinach Salad with Grilled Chicken and Uncured Bacon, and Spanish Inspired Chef Salad with Smoked Ham. These salads are currently in Publix stores in the Southeast United States.

Taylor Farms

Grilled Chicken Chopped Kits

Salinas, CA

The company’s new line of protein-packed entrée-salads is targeted to offer the ultimate meal solution for busy families. With fresh veggies such as Romaine, red and green cabbage, kale, carrots and green onions, savory dressings and grilled white meat chicken, each kit (11.4 to 15.25 ounces) delivers more than 30 grams of protein per bag (four servings) and are offered in popular flavors, including Cheddar Ranch, Club and Caesar. The grilled chicken is raised without antibiotics. All ingredients are free from artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.