The Star Group's Jessica Wells Discusses Whole Leaf and Inspired Products
COALDALE, AB - With a state-of-the-art process, inspired brand identity, award-winning product line, and mission-based approach to providing the freshest greens possible year-round, The Star Group’s Inspired Greens program is shaping up to become one of the most dynamic in leafy greens.
I recently had an opportunity to touch base with Jessica Wells, Creative Coordinator for The Star Group, to learn more about the Whole Leaf greenhouse, the rapidly expanding Inspired product line, and more.
Q: Tell me a little about the history of Inspired Greens and Whole Leaf: When was the brand created and by whom? How did it grow to its current iteration?
Jessica Wells: Whole Leaf and Inspired Greens are driven by our companies unwavering commitment to value and taste. When our CEO, David Karwacki, was making dinner with his family on a January minus 50 day in Saskatoon, his daughters complained about the poor quality of winter lettuce. The next morning, he woke up and knew we had to do better for our customers. From that day, we set out to inspire our customers with great products and began growing the best produce that we possibly could. Inspired Greens was born to capture that inspiration and we live out those values in every area of The Star Group—making Inspired Greens and Whole Leaf a great addition!
Q: What products is the brand currently offering?
JW: Our product lineup currently includes Inspired Greens and Inspired Leaves, and soon to be Inspired Salads.
Inspired Greens are sold in full head format with the roots attached to deliver greens that last longer and deliver more nutrition when you go to eat them. Our varieties include the:
- Multileaf Trio
- Romaine Trio
- Green Oak
- Green Batavia
- Red Batavia
- Green Butter
- Baby Butter
Inspired Leaves are full heads that have been cut and washed and then packaged into clamshells. Inspired Leaves have been on the market with the Multileaf Blend and you will soon see more offerings for:
- Crispies & Crunchies
- Tender Leaf Blend
- Greenhouse Greens
- Canadian Reds
- Lettuce Wrap Leaves
More options will be coming in the next few months!
Q: What makes Inspired Greens products unique? Can you describe the benefits of the living lettuce line?
JW: Inspired Greens is the freshest and most flavorful lettuce you will ever taste. You need to taste it to truly understand the magic of the product. We are grown without the use of pesticides; we are local to many consumers, but we can ship all over North America, and we grow a living product so that consumers get the best shelf life and nutrition from the product. We grow consistent supply all year long from our greenhouse in Coaldale, AB where the product is untouched by human hands throughout its lifecycle. You can ask any salad lover who has tried the product and they will tell you they are fans for life! Take a look on our social media for organic social media shout-outs on Facebook and Instagram!
Q: Tell me a little about the packaging and design of the line?
JW: Our packaging is inspired by the beautiful gardens in Japan with their tranquil flowing lines and rocks to show the roots of the clean mountain water that feeds our fresh, growing lettuce. Consumers are subconsciously drawn to design aspects from nature, pairing this with something unique that is not seen in the grocery aisle has helped us to stand out among other pack designs. Our uniform circles and bright colors to distinguish varieties, make our product easy to identify and have helped us to be big, bold, and inspiring!
Q: Tell me more about the upcoming offerings in the line: what's next for the Inspired Greens label?
JW: Fresh from winning the New Product Showcase award for Best Product at the 2018 CPMA Convention and Trade Show, we are very excited to announce the launch of our Inspired Salads line up. With a combination of core salads and salads inspired by your favorite meals, we have a lot to offer! Our core salads combine items that we considered Star Group “Hero Categories” where we take other products that have the best taste and combine them with our amazing greens—our Mango Sensations Salad and Berry Boost Salad are an example of this. Our “Inspired by your Favorite Meals” line targets those consumers that are looking for a meal that cuts the carbs. They take popular dishes and reinvent and inspire them into a health-conscious salad without sacrificing taste. Watch for 100 percent plant-based options as well as sous vide meat options. Coming fall of 2018!
Q: Where and how are they available to retail and foodservice customers?
JW: Reach out to us in any way you can! We are happy to share the wonderful experience that is Inspired Greens! You can contact me directly and I will get you in contact with the right person: Jessica Wells, email: [email protected], phone: 306-385-7462.
With recently unveiled plans to expand production to 20 million heads per year and forward thinking products slated to hit shelves soon, the future looks bright for The Star Group and Inspired Greens.
For more fresh inspiration in the produce industry, keep reading AndNowUKnow.