Supermarkets Boost Salad Sales
Consumers are chowing down on more green, leafy salads. Datassential, a leading food trends research firm, reports that nearly half of consumers say they have increased their salad consumption in the past year, which is in line with what operators are reporting. 42 percent have seen an increase in sales from their salad offerings. Additionally, more than half of consumers also eat a leafy salad at least once every three days.
What's making salads such a popular option today? Consumers have more opportunities to grab a quality salad anywhere—from fast food to casual dining and especially the supermarket prepared food department.
"Supermarkets are a key destination for salad consumption for those dining out," says Jackie Rodriguez, senior project manager at Datassential. "Grocers have heavily invested in prepared food departments and it's paid off. 65 percent of consumers have purchased prepared green and deli salads from grocery stores, which is on par with limited-service restaurants."
The data was pulled from Datassential's new 2017 Keynote Report on Salads, which provides a complete view of both leafy green salads and deli salads by exploring consumer and operator perceptions and preferences both at home and away from home.
A sense of obligation also motivates about half of consumers to eat salads, but this concern over health also competes with variety, taste and fresh ingredients when they are choosing a salad. Restaurants and other foodservice operators are often calling out locally grown produce and "clean" ingredients.
"The term cage-free is one of the fastest growing terms on salad menus - mentions are up more than 900 percent. Others include gluten-free, anti-biotic free and vegan," Rodriguez says.
New salad varieties now include protein-packed grains, ethnic ingredients, and superfoods like kale. Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes are showing up along with ancient grains like quinoa and farro. Ethnic ingredients included in salads feature tabbouleh, seaweed, and curry. Consumers' favorite ingredients continue to be classics like cheddar cheese, croutons, and ranch dressing.