(UPDATED COVERAGE, May 26) Blueberries and California strawberries play a starring role in Wendy’s summer menu.
The Atlanta-based Wendy’s/Arby’s Inc. rolled out a new Berry Almond Chicken Salad featuring a cup of blueberries and strawberries in late May and plans to add fresh berries to its vanilla Frosty in July.
Consumers are more interested in salad ingredients than ever before, said Denny Lynch, senior vice president of communications.
“We are paying more attention than anyone in quick-service restaurants on the details in our salads,” Lynch said. “For us to put 11 greens, chicken, shaved asiago cheese, almonds, strawberries and blueberries with a fresh raspberry vinaigrette, that’s no longer a fast food salad. That’s a casual dining salad with the convenience of fast food. We’re pretty proud of it.”
Strawberries are from California, Lynch said, and blueberries come from a mix of regions, including Michigan, California and the Carolinas, depending on availability. Lynch said Wendy’s does not name its suppliers.
Strawberries are sliced fresh in each of the participating restaurants, he said.
“We’ve figured out how to get fresh strawberries and blueberries to our 6,300 restaurants in 2-3 days from the field,” he said. “Berries are perishable and have a short shelf life. We’re not sure anyone else could do this in the QSR industry.”
The Berry Almond Chicken Salad also features a mix of 11 salad greens, California almonds and a preservative-free raspberry and acai berry vinaigrette.
The Berry Almond Chicken Salad retails for $6.49 as an entrée with chicken, $5.29 without and $4.49 as a half serving with chicken and $3.89 without. It is available at participating stores through the end of the summer.
It joins the other Garden Sensations Salads: Apple Pecan Chicken, Baja, BLT Cobb and Spicy Chicken Caesar. The company said its salad unit sales are up 60% over last year.
“We’re highly confident this will be a win for us,” Lynch said. “Our intent is to continue to have seasonal salads on the menu.”