Eminent plant scientists at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, created these varieties, which they call Rutgers Scarlet Lettuce (RSL), using natural breeding methods and starting with traditional red leaf lettuce varieties. The resulting deep burgundy-coloured leaf lettuce and romaine are high in several antioxidants including polyphenols and anthocyanins. Rutgers recently published the results of their work with animals showing that extracts of the lettuces improved Glucose metabolism and liver lipid accumulation in diet induced obese mice. The study appeared in the prestigious “PLOS One” journal as well as the journal “Nutrition.” A European group growing the lettuces is already conducting a human research study to determine similar benefits to humans. Rutgers plans to continue to develop additionally nutritionally enhanced lettuces and Coastline expects to work closely with the Rutgers scientists to grow and market additional new products.
“We began work on these new products over 18 months ago.” according to Steve Henderson, President. He continues, “we’ve done our homework - incorporating multi-district growing trials, engaging the consumer and developing innovative packaging and cooling techniques. The formal launch is at 2014 PMA Fresh Summit so make sure you stop by our booth #2368 to see these burgundy beauties.”
“The nutritional benefits are exceptional! We started by examining test results performed by Rutgers and then ran several additional nutritional analyses on our own field grown lettuces. The net result is that the Nutraleaf Burgundy lettuces are at least twice as high in certain important antioxidants as blueberries – long the gold standard for antioxidants – and as regular red leaf lettuce,” says Coastline vp Phil Adrian. “Because the lettuces can be labelled as Nutrient Rich, meaning they have many nutrients for very few calories, we know that these deeply-coloured lettuces are going to stand out in the produce section, on menus in restaurants and will attract media and consumer interest.”
“We have both lettuces available in Salinas through November and then will follow the sun to the Imperial Valley throughout the winter months,” says Adrian.
Informing the consumer about the availability and benefits of the Nutraleaf products is an integral part of the introduction and CFF has an extensive consumer education program in its communication plan, including outreach to both traditional food and nutrition media and social media.
The company’s social media programs are already underway, including popular sites on Pinterest and Instagram, featuring recipes and photos from Coastline’s new recipe booklet as well as links to other popular food and nutrition sites. Coastline is also working closely with nutrition bloggers, through its Registered Dietitian Nutritionist contacts, as well as bloggers at the PMA Fresh Summit. The Fresh Summit program was designed to reach key food and nutrition bloggers who have been specially invited to the exhibits, and are committed to stopping by the booth of each of the several sponsors. Coastline will be providing recipe and menu ideas and offering Nutraleaf samples to these influential consumer communicators.
Because the lettuces offer nutrients beyond regular lettuces, the company will work closely with healthcare professionals, especially Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, who reach millions and millions of consumers through supermarkets, the traditional and social media, health maintenance organizations and hospitals.
Coastline is working with David Grotto, RDN, and a well-known and highly respected nutrition expert, to communicate the nutrition benefits of the Nutraleaf Burgundy lettuces to consumers and to influential healthcare professionals. Grotto blogs for Real Life Nutrition WebMD; is Nutrition Advisor for Fitness Magazine; serves on the Advisory Board of the Chicago Food and Nutrition Network; is a member of the Benedictine University Nutrition Department Advisory Board; is a former Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the author of several bestselling nutrition books.
Coastline will introduce the Nutraleaf lettuces to more than 8,000 Registered Dietitian Nutritionists at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo October 19 -22 in Atlanta. “We attended this conference last year, just to scout it out,” reports Henderson, “and we know that there is great interest in a familiar product like lettuce but with these exciting new nutrition benefits and wonderful colour.”
Grotto will be appearing in the Nutraleaf booth to talk with the Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and to answer specific questions about the many nutrients in the new lettuces. Nutraleaf has already been featured in a wide-circulation blog from Sharon Palmer, RDN and author of “The Plant Powered Diet”.
For its foodservice efforts, Coastline works with Chef Andrew Hunter, a specialist in introducing new products to restaurants, to target key operations to menu the striking new lettuces. Chef Hunter, well-recognized in the restaurant industry for his ability to create unique and profitable menu items, worked with Coastline to introduce new preparations for the Nutraleaf lettuces at the Flavor Experience, an event for more than 100 key menu developers and culinary innovators. He will continue to work with Coastline in special presentations to targeted restaurant chains, emphasizing the many benefits of the new lettuces. Hunter, a member of the Research Chefs Association and former VP with Wolfgang Puck, also works with major food companies, including Kikkoman, Niman Ranch and others.
“With an exceptional team of experts, and a communications plan unlike any other in the produce industry, we believe we have a great start introducing these all-new lettuces to the US market,” says Henderson.
Coastline Family Farms is committed to the highest levels of quality and service since 1991. Our customers know they can count on Coastline to service their needs, every time, with a year-round supply of fresh vegetable commodities.
For more information:
Tel: +1 831.755.1430