Believed to have been brought to the New World by none other than Christopher Columbus himself, lettuce has enjoyed a long culinary history here in the U.S. Today it is one of the three largest vegetable crops here, surpassed only by onions. And amazingly, almost 2/3 of our country’s lettuce is grown right here in the Salinas Valley.
In my last post, I extolled the virtues of Mann’s Arcadian Harvest® salad blend. Today I’m taking more of a macro view to explore overall lettuce trends and what both consumers and operators are looking for in their salad greens.
Back in 2013, Mann’s commissioned a survey of 1,039 consumers to look at salad green preferences across different restaurant segments. Not surprisingly, eight in ten consumers agree that the type of salad green is an important factor in their decision to order a salad. In addition, romaine continues to dominate across most restaurant menus, however a clear transition toward other varieties is evident. In fact, menu incidence of romaine and iceberg has been on a downward slide since 2011, while mixed greens, spinach and kale have been on the rise.
Also important to restaurant goers when ordering a salad: nutritional value, visual appeal and size. Consumers lean toward a mixture of bite-sized whole leaves and bite-sized chopped pieces. They also prefer a crunchier texture and a sweet/mild flavor profile. The good news for us: Mann’s Arcadian Harvest Classic was rated as the most appealing salad green variety, due to all the attributes listed above. We told you it rocks, didn’t we?
Below you’ll find a full summary of the survey results, which we find are still relevant today. You can also download a printable PDF version over on the right.
Viva la revolution!
Finally, I have to share this gem from 2013: The Lettuce Whisperer. It makes me laugh every time. Stay classy, produce people!