New dressings from Bolthouse Farms target underserved overlap between organic and better-for-you

Source: Bolthouse Farms

Bolthouse Farms expands its footprint in the crowded dressing category with the launch of a new premium line that fills the whitespace in the unexpectedly bare overlap between organic and better-for-you options. 

The company’s new line of certified organic dressings helps meet the growing consumer demand for organic, which has been growing double digit across all categories, Bill Lange, vice president of marketing for Bolthouse Farms, said to FoodNavigator-USA.

He added that the growth rate for organic in the produce section is even higher at four times that of conventional, signaling that “consumers are building their salads and their meals with organic ingredients, and it doesn’t make a ton of sense to put a non-organic product on top.”

But, he said, that is often what happens given the limited selection of organic dressings. Of those few “mom and pop” dressings that are organic and offered national, most are full-fat and full-calories, “which is honestly surprising,” Lange said.

“We thought there was a big white space here for someone to come in with a great product that delivered on the organic promise, delivered on the non-GMO promise and also had lower calories and fat than what is out there today,” he added.

The new line is able to achieve a better-for-you status by limiting the calories to 60 and fat to five grams or less per serving, thanks in part to the use of yogurt, which preserves the creamy flavor and mouthfeel many people want from dressings but cuts the fat.

The company further compensates for the reduced fat and calories by using premium ingredients to elevate four classic flavors. For example, the company adds creamy avocado to its Avocado Ranch and uses a unique blend of blue cheeses in its Signature Blue Cheese.

It also offers a twist on the classic Caesar dressing by making theirs a lighter vinaigrette, and it brings restaurant-inspired innovation to its balsamic with the addition of raspberry, which Lange said is an emerging ingredient in food service.

Why overlap on organic and non-GMO certification

Even though organic includes non-GMO, Bolthouse Farms is taking the extra step to have the new line also verified by The Non-GMO Project.

“Consumers are looking for both [organic and non-GMO] as critical cues, and that butterfly seal has become so prominent across multiple categories that we wanted to reinforce it for those people who are more familiar with that seal and do not understand that an organic product could also carry that qualification,” Lange explained. He added that this is a lesson the company learned from marketing in other categories, including the premium beverage side.

Being square isn’t always a bad thing

The line also will stand out on shelves from Bolthouse Farms’ conventional options as well as the competition in the organic segment with unique square bottles and elegant black labels.

“There is so much that is round and tall and cylindrical, that we though the square shape would help us get that on-shelf visibility, and allow us to highlight the organic benefits” better than more traditional oval-shaped bottle that the company uses for its conventional dressing line, Lange said.

At 12-ounces, the bottle also is slightly smaller than the brand’s 14-ounce conventional dressing package and those of many competitors, which serves the dual purpose of ensuring the bottles fit on stores shelves and can help keep the price point down in a range that appears more in line with other dressings.

Lange explained that because the new organic line uses premium ingredients, it demands a premium price. However, “we didn’t’ want to go so big that we priced a lot of consumers out,” and by trimming 2 ounces the dressings are still “in the same ballpark as what consumers are used to spending.”

As for the label, the black background not only will contrast with many of the pastel-colored labels of competitors, but it offsets well the photographs of the premium ingredients featured front and center on the new labels.

Marketing strategy

To help the new line get off the ground, Bolthouse Farms will work with influencers to promote the brands through social media and will run some digital advertising, including on Amazon Fresh, which will make the dressings available before most brick-and-mortar stores.

Bolthouse Farms also will extend its existing partnership with Weight Watchers to promote the dressings once they build up their presence on store shelves, Lange said. He explained that Bolthouse Farms is promoting its existing line of premium dressings with Weight Watchers through print and digital, and then in May there will be a print advertisement for the organic line.

The company also will rely on the tried-and-true tactics of couponing and in-store demonstrations.

A twist on a classic

In addition to launching the line of organic dressings, Bolthouse Farms also launched a new conventional dressing, which offers an elevated twist on a well-loved favorite: Cucumber Ranch.

Ranch and blue cheese are the top-selling dressings in the US, and this addition to Bolthouse Farms’ conventional line of dressings plays into that, while still offering an elevated flavor and texture with the addition of real cucumbers.

As with its other yogurt-based dressings, this one also is lower in calories and fat than traditional options and has no preservatives or artificial flavors.  

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