Whole Leaf — the Coaldale, Alberta-based grower of the Inspired Leaves brand — will provide greenhouse-grown lettuce to all 384 Wendy’s locations in Canada.
“With more Canadians looking for sustainable products, this strategic partnership allows us to reach Wendy’s customers all-year round with high-quality fresh produce,” Rindi Bristol, senior director of sales for Whole Leaf, said in a news release.
Owned by The Star Group, Whole Leaf is growing a salad blend called the Trio exclusively for Wendy’s Canada, said Alissa Liotti, public relations executive for the restaurant chain.
The lettuce is included as the base of all Wendy’s Canada core salads — Apple Pecan Chicken Salad, Southwest Avocado Chicken Salad, Grilled Caesar Salad and Taco Salad — and on top of all burgers and sandwiches that have lettuce, Liotti said.
The salad blend is red and green lettuces grown and cut to Wendy’s specifications, Bristol said.
The sandwich lettuce is a Green Batavia-type known for its consistent number and size of leaves, along with a mild sweet taste and bright glossy color, Bristol said.
The Star Group works with foodservice broadline distributers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. From there, Inspired Greens and Inspired Leaves head to restaurants across western Canada.
Inspired Greens are sold at stores in Canada including Sobeys, Loblaws, Safeway, Whole Foods, Valu-Mart and Costco, and in the U.S. at Albertsons, Safeway and Town & Country Markets.
The Star Group partners with Foodrescue.ca to send products that aren’t sold to Wendy’s or retailers to charitable feeding organizations in Western Canada.
Whole Leaf’s greenhouse captures and reduces water consumption and also created a process to capture waste heat and carbon dioxide simultaneously, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and allowing it to be 100% self-sufficient for electricity and heating, according to the release.
Wendy’s Canada began using greenhouse-grown tomatoes in 2018.