– All Eat Smart® Products Will Be 100% CLEAN LABEL by the End of 2018 –
GUADALUPE, CA., February 28, 2017 — The clean food movement is accelerating, sparked by health-conscious consumers who prefer to know exactly what is and isn’t in the food they are eating. Apio, Inc., a leading producer of fresh-cut vegetables and salads for the United States and Canada under the Eat Smart® brand, is at the vanguard of the movement. Eat Smart is the first brand in the non-organic salad kit and tray category to commit to clean ingredients and labeling, with plans for all products to contain a “100% Clean Label” by the end of 2018.
What is clean food? “Apio’s definition is simple. All Eat Smart products will be free from high fructose corn syrup, artificial preservatives, hydrogenated fats, as well as artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners by the end of next year,” said Molly Hemmeter, CEO of Landec/Apio. “Clean labeling is an important part of this initiative. Our easy-to-understand labels will list recognizable ingredients that consumers can feel good about putting in their bodies and serving to their families.”
Most Apio Products Are Clean Today
Nearly 90% of Eat Smart products already contain a clean label, including all cut vegetable products, salad blends and our most popular nutrient-dense vegetable salad kits including our Sweet Kale, Strawberry Harvest, and Sunflower Kale products. Apio’s “100% Clean Label” initiative is focused on reformulating salad dressings and toppings and vegetable tray dips that we source from other suppliers and include with our vegetable products to ensure they meet our new 100% Clean Label initiative specifications. Select packages of Eat Smart salads and tray products with a clean label will begin featuring a prominent burst on the front of the package that says: “100% Clean Label. No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.” More information about Apio’s “100% Clean Label” initiative can be found at www.eatsmart.net.
The North American salad kit category is approximately $2.1 billion and includes retail and club stores. Of this total market, less than 2% of salad kits are sold as organic1 . This is due to the number and complexity of ingredients in most salad kits, which makes it difficult to source all ingredients organically at a price that consumers are willing to pay. By offering consumers clean label salad kits and trays, Eat Smart provides consumers with another healthy option for realizing their personal wellness goals.
Statistics Highlight Broad Consumer Interest
Other companies are embracing clean, a strong trend that Apio expects to become increasingly important across all categories. One example is Panera Bread (www.panerabread.com), who is committed to 100% clean food and has published a “No No List” of ingredients that will never be found in their product offerings. Research shows why it’s a smart move. Estimated North American sales of clean label products in 2015 were $62 billion2, and 62% of consumers globally say they try to avoid artificial preservatives, flavors, and colors in their food3. In addition, nearly three-quarters of consumers are looking for clean labels, preferring mostly recognizable ingredients4.
A recent Apio study had similar findings. “Many consumers keep on top of healthy eating trends. Our research identified consumers of value-added vegetables and salads in the U.S. and Canada, who represent 62% of the population and spend $7 billion annually in the value added produce category,” said Hemmeter. “They are willing to pay a premium for differentiated products and are loyal, high-value shoppers. Eat Smart’s 100% Clean Label initiative will attract these buyers to retail stores and drive repeat visits.”
“Eat Smart is committed to innovating delicious and convenient ways to eat healthy, and Apio’s 100% Clean Label initiative is the latest example of our commitment to consumers and to our retail partners,” said Hemmeter. “We intend to lead the industry and ensure that our products deliver maximum nutritional benefits. We’re excited to be at the forefront of a trend that we believe will become a mainstream standard.”
Eat Smart products are available in more than 100 club and retail chains in the U.S. and Canada.
About Apio, Inc.
Apio, Inc., was founded in 1979 by five growers of celery in the Santa Maria Valley on the central coast of California. Today the company is the leader in processing and marketing fresh-cut specialty vegetables in the United States and Canada. Headquartered in Guadalupe, California, Apio sells its specialty vegetables, salads and party tray products under its retail Eat Smart® brand and foodservice GreenLine® brand. Landec Corporation (NASDAQ: LNDC), a leading developer and marketer of innovative and proprietary products for healthy living applications in the food and biomedical markets based in Menlo Park, California, acquired Apio in 1999. See www.eatsmart.net for more information.
- Nielsen Answers US Total US xAOC, Costco projected by Nielsen Homescan Panel US, Nielsen CAN, W/E 10/29/16; Club CAN for Packaged Salads only
- Euromonitor, 2015
- Nielsen Global Health and Ingredient Sentiment Survey, Q1 2016
- Food Business News, Trends of the Year, 2015.