NEW YORK - For anyone looking to eat healthy, the ubiquitous salad is the easiest option. However, when faced with the task of actually making a salad, many Americans are simply not buying it.
On average Americans eat a salad at mealtime roughly 36 times a year €" down 20% from 45% in 1985, according The NPD Group. Fewer than half of Americans €" 49% €" ate at least one "leaf salad" at home in two weeks, compared with 75% who ate a potato dish and 81% who ate beef, writes the Wall Street Journal.
"The single biggest problem with salad is making it," Harry Balzer, NPD vice president, told the news source, adding, that cleaning, cutting and making sure the produce is fresh tends to keep people away.
Executives at Fresh Express Inc., a unit of Chiquita Brands International, believe that adding more vegetables to bagged greens will get consumers to consume more salads. The company is planning to launch bagged greens accompanied with cucumbers, tomatoes and red peppers and other vegetables sometime next year.
Organic producer Earthbound Farm plans to introduce "Powermeal" salad kits like Blueberry Quinoa Protein Balance and Tomatillo Black Bean Energy later this summer, notes the news source, with toppings like black beans and quinoa that will make the salads a full meal.
Dole Food Company found from its 2009 and 2010 consumer studies that many people simply don't know how to make salad taste good, and that they fall into a salad "rut" of making the same thing over and over with the same dressing and ingredients. Last year Dole upgraded its salad bags with "pairing" suggestions, like grilled chicken, goat cheese and caramelized onion and peach vinaigrette for its Spring Mix.
Price, meanwhile, is also a hurdle. The average U.S. price of a head of lettuce hovers around $1.79, while a package of salad greens is upwards $2.50 a bag. Fresh Express has set a $5 price barrier and is hoping to price its bagged salad plus vegetables at $2.99 to $3.99 a bag.