BREA, CALIF. – Marie’s Refrigerated Salad Dressings is rolling out a new line of plant-based dressings for sale in fresh produce sections.
The line delivers on the expectations of today’s consumers, according to Marie’s, and comes in four classic flavors with a twist:
· Creamy Dill Ranch
· Smoked Black Pepper Caesar
· Meyer Lemon Basil
· Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette
According to a 2019 Mintel study, while 2.5% of the population is eating a vegan or vegetarian diet, 55% of consumers now identify as flexitarian and 36% as meat eaters, both groups report actively trying to add more plant-based foods to their diets.
“Already, Marie’s has strong household penetration in the refrigerated salad dressing category,” said Ahmad Popal, vice president of Ventura Foods, which owns the Marie’s brand. “With our new Plant-Based line, Marie’s is helping retailers further help meet consumer demand for more plant-based products. We know that consumers do not want to compromise on taste and the new Marie’s Plant-Based line delivers full flavor and features premium, real ingredients that our customer expects.”
In addition to being plant-based, all four dressing flavors are vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free. The line is packaged in 11.5-ounce recyclable PET bottles and is expected to retail at around $4.49, although prices may vary by retailer.
Q and A with Heba Armand, Ventura Foods’ director of retail marketing, on Marie’s new Plant-Based line:
Supermarket Perimeter: How did you decide to launch a line of plant-based dressings?
Heba Armand: At Ventura, we have a strong ability to understand consumer insights and follow trends, and we have a really strong R&D team that can translate those trends into actual products. Plant-based is not only a growing trend, but it’s a category that’s become really sustainable over the past several years. We saw a huge opportunity specifically for plant-based refrigerated salad dressings. It’s an underpenetrated market.
SP: How do you translate the Marie’s brand into plant-based?
Armand: We went back to our consumer insights and found that consumers expect Marie’s dressings to be indulgent, creamy dressings. We wanted to make sure we started with that — a good, quality indulgent dressing, something Marie’s could really own. The consumer perception is often that when it’s plant-based, it doesn’t taste as good. These are delicious dressings that just happen to be plant -based.
SP: Who is the target audience for your plant-based dressings?
Armand: When people think plant-based they think about “what’s healthy for me,” but the cool thing about this is that it’s not for a niche group of people who are trying to be healthy. More and more people are becoming flexitarians. This fits really nicely with that. It’s for people who want to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diet, but they don’t want to become vegan. This is not a fad, it’s not short-term. Looking at other plant-based categories in grocery, we’re seeing long-term systemic growth, so I’m excited that we’re bringing something that’s delivering on really good taste.