A closer look at 2014 Expo East NEXTY Food & Beverage Award winner Radicle Salads

A closer look at 2014 Expo East NEXTY Food & Beverage Award winner Radicle Salads

Radicle Salads receives a Natural Products Expo East NEXTY Award (Editors' Choice) for its packaged living salads that could potentially cut food waste and encourage home harvesting.

Ever open your fridge and see that your bagged or boxed lettuce had gone slimy after just a few days of purchasing it? Co-founder Christopher Washington sure did, and he realized he wasn’t alone. When Washington did research, he found that some retailers throw out a significant percent of bagged salad before they can sell it.

Such overwhelming food waste, paired with bagged lettuce’s sketchy history with food safety issues and recalls, spurred the launch of Radicle Salads, a pioneering new brand that sells sustainable green-house grown, root-intact lettuces packaged in compost and wrapped in a recyclable sleeve. The result is a living plant that boasts twice the shelf life of bagged salad products—Radicle Salads can last for 10 days outside your refrigerator—and still tastes fresh, crunchy and delicious. Food waste: you’ve met your match.

Food waste issues aside, Radicle Salads also won our support because we adore the concept of accessible home harvesting. Gardens are a fantastic way to get closer to your food, but assuming everyone has the space or time to tend to one excludes the demographic living in miniscule urban apartments. By offering high-end lettuces like Japanese Peppergrass, Arugula, or Shanghai Spinach for as little as $2.99, this company smartly and simply ushers fresh food to everyone.

Because it’s such a novel product (some shoppers think they should plant their lettuce when they get home), Radicle Salads plans to invest in education. “Shoppers are not always able to immediately recognize why they would prefer our product over the bagged or clamshell salad they are used to buying. When people understand they should cut the greens and serve them as they would any other salad, they immediately see why it's tastier, safer and fresher than pre-cut salad,” says Washington. “Our dream is that living salad will become so commonplace that we as a culture will look back at our bagged salad days and ask, ‘what were we thinking?” 

The NEXTY nomination and award process is part of New Hope and Sterling-Rice Group’s ongoing research into the trends and opportunities driving the natural, organic and healthy products market. This research is published annually in the NEXT Natural Products Industry Forecast. To learn more or purchase the NEXT Forecast 2015, go to www.nextforecast.com.

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