During the summertime, fresh berries and grilled veggies take center stage. But when the weather cools down, consumers look for foods that taste warm and comforting—or at least remind them of the things they love about fall.
Adding seasonal ingredients to grab-and-go salads is a great way to attract more shoppers who want to pick up something healthy yet interesting. And to compete with restaurants for the 43% of consumers that say they order a salad during most of their restaurant visits, according to Technomic’s 2018 Left Side of the Menu: Soup & Salad report, retailers should consider adding these seasonal flavors to more foods. Flavors such as pecan, cranberry, apple and more are great to add to salad, and best of all, they can help stores sell more of these salads. Sixty-four percent of consumers—including 72% of younger consumers—say they are more likely to purchase salads with seasonal claims, according to Technomic’s 2018 Left Side of the Menu: Soup & Salad report.
Other ingredients, such as beets (up 100% year-over-year on fall salad menus), carrot (+46%), feta (+42%), pumpkin (+30%) and maple (+22%) can also be added to fall salads in unique ways. Dressings should also reflect the seasonality of salads, and Ken’s Foodservice offers an array of options that are perfect for fall.
What customers want
With recent pushes towards eating foods that are in-season, more shoppers have become accustomed to looking for what tastes best now. And in fact, 65% of consumers saying that they associate seasonal ingredients with improved taste, according to Technomic’s 2017 Flavor report. Selling foodservice options that include seasonal ingredients is a great—and easy—way to spark interest in grab-and-go salads or a seasonal salad bar.
Pique interest with limited-time offerings
If fast-food darlings such as the McRib and other hot sellers are any indication, customers flock to items that aren’t offered year-round. They may be more likely to buy foods that have seasonal ingredients. For instance, once the weather cools down, stores can highlight fall foods like a beet and citrus salad or a tri-color potato salad with Ken’s Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette. Nearly half of younger consumers say that their flavor preferences vary by season, so capture those shoppers’ interest with foods that feature seasonal flavors. Make sure to clearly label these ingredients and call them out on other c-store or grocery store signage.
Selling healthy options that still taste amazing
Too often, salads are thought of as a boring health food—with uninspiring iceberg lettuce and a common dressing, they may not be as appealing as they could be. Even when packed with healthy ingredients or superfoods, salads should be flavorful and delicious. To bump up the appeal of these fall salads, using seasonal ingredients is key. Try offering a fall harvest salad with Ken’s Lemon Vinaigrette,for example—with baby kale, romaine, butternut squash, roasted apples, cucumbers, pomegranate arils and pumpkin seeds, this salad packs texture and flavor in without adding high-fat ingredients such as bacon or shredded cheese.
Adding seasonal flavors and foods to salads at c-stores and grocery stores isn’t just a way to spice up the foodservice offerings—it’s also a great way to boost sales based on consumer preferences—about a third of the overall population says they are more inclined to purchase, and are willing to pay more for, salads described as seasonal. So for retailers who are looking for a way to get more shoppers to buy salad in the cooler months, adding these tasty autumn eats is a great strategy.
Ken’s is excited to offer foodservice operators a line of dressings that is perfect for fall menus, including:
- Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette
- Lemon Vinaigrette
- Blueberry & Pomegranate Vinaigrette
- Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
- Lime Vinaigrette Dressing and Marinade
- Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Learn more about these and other Ken’s Foodservice sauces and dressings by clicking here.
This post is sponsored by Ken's Foods