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Branding gives that personal connectionThere are many different types of mixed salad bags on the market just now, but not many branded bags. One company took advantage of this back in 2010 and launched a new range.
Steve’s Leaves, which is owned by Vitacress, launched into the market in 2010 with the aim of providing consumers with a range of high quality and innovative baby leaf salads.
"Vitacress identified an opportunity for a ‘personal’ brand that people could connect to," explains Tony Reid, Head of Marketing at Vitacress and Steve’s Leaves. "When our customers buy a bag of Steve’s Leaves they know what to expect - nutritious, high quality, innovative baby salad leaves produced to high environmental standards. Steve’s Leaves salads are washed in spring water and packed in convenient bags for the perfect portion size. We use a unique pillow bag containing natural air to help protect the delicate baby leaves.
"The vision behind Steve’s Leaves is to produce high quality, innovative salads to high environmental standards. Steve’s Leaves has always been sold in smaller 60g bags to appeal to smaller 1-2 person households and help reduce waste."
Dr Steve Rothwell
Steve’s Leaves was named after Dr Steve Rothwell, who joined Vitacress as a PhD student and pioneered baby leaf salads and brought lots of exciting leaves to the market. Steve is widely regarded as one of the UK’s leading salad experts; he was the first person in the UK to have a PhD in watercress, and, together with his team at Vitacress, has introduced a wide variety of salad leaves into UK supermarkets. These include rocket, pea shoots, baby leaf spinach, baby watercress, fennel tops, persian cress and wasabi rocket.
"The two core Steve’s Leaves lines are: Pea Shoots & Baby Leaves and Baby Watercress & Little Leaves. Pea Shoots is currently the most popular, but we’re seeing a resurgence in the watercress since the spinach shortage encouraged people to try it," said Tony.
When there was the shortage of supply at the beginning of the year Vitacress were able to source from their farms in Portugal and suppliers in other countries, so between those sites they were able to work around the weather issues as much as possible.
"We find that people like to try unusual variations of salad leaves or herbs that they already know. Last year we launched a Confetti Coriander salad – a variation on the coriander herb - for the summer and we’ve also had success in the past with wasabi rocket, red rocket and fennel tops. All are twists on well-loved vegetables and salad leaves."
"Most of Steve’s Leaves salad is produced on our own farms. We believe that growing salad leaves outdoors results in the best flavour and is the best option for the environment, so we grow our leaves on our UK farms in Hampshire, Dorset, Kent and Wiltshire during the UK season and we have our own farms in Spain, Portugal and Italy for outside of the UK season, occasionally supplementing from a small number of trusted suppliers. All of our farms are Conservation Grade Fair to Nature certified."
Sustainability is at the heart of the brand and Steve’s Leaves is the only salad brand in the world which is Conservation Grade Fair to Nature certified. In practice, this means 10% of the farmland is dedicated to creating habitats for wildlife and boosting biodiversity. This is achieved by following a scientifically validated set of protocols, specific to each site to protect and enhance the wildlife and biodiversity.
Steve’s Leaves is currently available in Waitrose, Ocado, Amazon, Wholefoods and selected farmshops.
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