Wendy’s did its due diligence before adding mango to the ingredient list for its new summer salad.

The company is the only quick-service restaurant featuring fresh mangoes, according to the National Mango Board, and it did years of prep work before making the leap with its Strawberry Mango Chicken Salad.

“Wendy’s took into consideration the necessary mango ripening process needed to serve a properly conditioned fruit for that fresh taste we know our consumers crave,” said Frank Vamos, director of brand communications for Wendy’s. “The correct way to cut and handle a mango was also a critical consideration ... Wendy’s monitored (its) supplier’s processing and production facilities to dial into desired specifications for the perfect mango serving.”

Lettuce and strawberries for the salads are prepared on location daily, and the pre-cut mangoes are supplied by Del Monte Fresh Produce.

It is the latest of several collaborations between the companies in the last 6-7 years.

“Del Monte Fresh Produce is very excited to be part of Wendy’s new Strawberry Mango Chicken Salad,” said Dennis Christou, vice president of marketing for the company. “This has been a two-year collaborative project where both companies worked closely together to bring to Wendy’s customers a consistent premium quality mango in their summer salads across North America.

“The project involved a serious study and experimentation with all available mango varieties to come up with a unique product that can be produced and distributed to all Wendy’s operations though our best-in-class fresh-cut and distribution center network,” Christou said. “We are very pleased with the initial results of this project.”

The salad is available through Labor Day at all of the 6,000-plus Wendy’s locations in the U.S. and Canada.

Wendy’s plans to serve about 2 million pounds of mangoes this summer in its new seasonal offering, which includes strawberries, mango, grilled chicken, lettuce, crumbled feta cheese, sunflower seeds and a honey citrus vinaigrette dressing.

The company began developing the idea for the salad about a year and a half ago and started discussions with mango suppliers in the fourth quarter of 2015, Vamos said. Wendy’s also worked with the National Mango Board.

“The NMB had continuously pitched the Wendy’s team — including supply chain contacts and purchasing managers — about adding fresh mangoes to a menu item,” said Angela Serna, communications manager for the board. “It was years of follow-up and conversations about how this could work.

“The biggest opportunity for the NMB was to provide Wendy’s with mango import volume, handling and ripening best practices for the foodservice arena, fresh-cut market, consumer research, supply chain reporting, mango index by region, and general product information,” Serna said.

In a news release, Wendy’s emphasized the freshness of the salad ingredients, noting that fresh produce shipments arrive at its restaurants 2-3 times per week.

The full-size version of the Strawberry Mango Chicken Salad costs $6.59 and has 470 calories, while the half-size option is $4.59 and 280 calories.

 
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