There is growing awareness of healthy living and promotion of nutritional foods. The media, nutri-tional experts, physicians, coaches, and teachers continually champion the message on the necessity of healthy eating.
A study by UCLA/LSU details the nutritional value of a salad. The results showed that just eating one salad a day provides even greater health beneﬁts than previously known. The study examined salad consumption by over 17,000 adults and found that those who ate salads and raw vegetables had considerably higher levels of vitamins C, E, B6, and folic acid.Additionally, with the ongoing attention to weight gain and obesity in America, many Americans look to low-fat and low-carbohydrate diet plans, further increasing the consumption of salads.
Research statistics show that total vegetable consumption in 2000 was 23% above average annual vegetable consumption in the 1970’s.More recently, Dole Fresh Vegetables performed an extensive 18-month research to determine Amer-ican’s consumption of salad. The 2010 report showed surprisingly that many cities that were known for other foods such as Dallas, Houston, Boston, Philadelphia and New York had some of the highest salad consumption per capita. These are cities where steaks, BBQ, Philly Cheesesteak, and Clam Chowder are better known. The research proved that there is an ongoing desire for healthy options and that Americans, when giving the opportunity to make healthier choices, will choose this route.In as much, many salad franchises have sprouted up throughout the US, many with strong ﬁnancial success and have paved the way for a company such as Green is Better, Saladworks, Souper Salad and Salad Creations are three of the top salad franchises in the US, with Saladworks having over 100 locations, Salad Creations 55 (founded in 2003), and Souper Salad having 82 restaurants with annual revenue for 2008 at $202M.
In terms of eating out, with the change in the economy, Zagat has noted that the national average for weekly visits is now at 3.2 times a week. Concurrently, 41% of diners are more price-sensitive and 36% are eating in less pricey places. However, a solid 26% of diners indicated that the economy has
had no affect on their dining habits. The Zagat survey also showed that 61% of diners around the country are willing to pay more for “green” products and menu items, an increase from the prior year. Subsequently, 69% of those surveyed also consider low-carb, low-fat, and heart-healthy menu items to be important.In addition, a recent New America Diner study by Restaurant & Institution provided further insight into current restaurant dining trends. The report stated that over 60% of diners are focusing on price. Furthermore, 44.6% noted that price would be the deciding factor on dining out for breakfast, while 53.2% noted the same for lunch. Convenience is also of the uttermost priority in appealing to diners. Over 80% of consumers make weekday dining based primarily on convenience.
In the study, convenience covered three areas that included location close to home or work, quick-dining experience, and easy to ﬁnd/free parking. Nearly one-third(31.9%) of survey respondents say that on weekdays they always or often purchase lunch at a restaurant or fast food provider.