Two years ago, Clover Food Lab began working with Whole Foods Markets to carry some of its made-from-scratch, locally sourced vegetarian items. In typical Clover fashion, the process was iterative. Deliberations were made over what food to sell, which plastic containers to use, and what design would go on the label. The collaboration is finally in full swing.
Eight Whole Foods locations in Greater Boston feature Clover’s rustic hummus, Venezuelan black bean spread, and various pickled vegetables. Four salads, changing monthly, are also on rotation. All labeling includes not just nutritional information but an origin story. For instance, a Clover employee who ate it growing up in Moscow created the salad of julienned beets with horseradish and walnuts.
“Our primary goal for our products at [Whole Foods] is the same as that for our products at Clover restaurants: We want you to help meat eaters fall in love with vegetables,” Clover founder Ayer Muir wrote in a blog post. Spokeswoman Lucia Jazayeri says the partnership will also “help introduce us to customers in the suburbs who may never eat at a Clover restaurant.”
Clover food is available in two areas of Whole Foods stores: the self-serve salad bar, priced at $8 per pound, and individually packaged in the refrigerated, prepared foods section. Clover products, which are certified kosher, are delivered every other day. The food is prepared at Clover HUB kitchens in Cambridge. The launch began in September, reaching eight stores this month.
The collaboration is progressing so well that Muir wants to hire an assistant for the Clover manager in charge of the Whole Foods effort. Jazayeri says that, with the launch behind them, they can “focus on making sure we are iterating on our initial design, and expanding our offerings.” Change never stops at Clover.
Clover Food Lab products are available at eight Whole Foods Market locations: 413 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, Boston, 617-553-5400; 348 Harrison Ave., South End, Boston, 617-904-1000; 181 Cambridge St., Boston, 617-723-0004; 115 Prospect St., Cambridge, 617-492-0070; 340 River St., Cambridge, 617-876-6990; 300 Legacy Place, Dedham, 781-329-7100; 442 Washington St., Wellesley, 781-235-7262; and 100 Market St., Lynnfield, 781-776-4300; www.wholefoodsmarket.com.