Lettuce Show You the Way: Consumer Demand for Salad Kits Is Increasing

Lettuce Show You the Way: Consumer Demand for Salad Kits Is Increasing

As consumers strive to make healthier eating decisions, many have set out to find greener pastures—beds of leafy options like Romaine, Arugula, Escarole and Kale. As a result, savvy retailers with the right elements for the perfect salad are meeting health-conscious consumer demand—and harvesting a little cabbage of their own in the process.

According to a recent Nielsen survey, 66% of U.S. respondents say they’re eating healthier now than they were two years ago, and 64% are trying to buy healthier foods. A total of 63%, however, say eating right is a challenge, which means there’s plenty of opportunity for retailers to beef up their offerings to help consumers meet their goals. And when it comes to health attributes as influencers, the recent study found that “made from vegetables/fruits,” “high in protein” and “high in fiber” were top traits. For many consumers, particularly those with “on-the-go” lifestyles, prepackaged salads are a great solution in that they’re a healthy food choice that’s convenient and fast.

While grocers continue to see sales gains (1% over the previous 52 weeks) from the sale of bulk lettuce, salad kits are stealing the spotlight in the race to the checkout line. Packaged salads accounted for $3.7 billion in sales in the 52 weeks ended April 2, 2016, an increase of 8% from the previous year. Within the category, complete salad kits are growing the most, generating $950 million in sales in the last year, up a whopping 31% from the previous year. Prepackaged organic salads are growing faster than the average, with a 12% increase in dollar sales over the previous year.

With 48% of consumers choosing local, natural and organic options when they’re available, sales of organic salad kits continue to grow. Packaged salads that include a protein accompaniment represent another opportunity for retailers, as 61% of consumers cite products that are high in protein as an important influence when making purchase decisions.

Consumers are craving healthy meal solutions, and packaged salads present manufacturers and retailers with an opportunity them to help them crack the code to healthy eating.


The insights in this article were derived from:

  • The sales data was derived from Nielsen Perishables Group FreshFacts, 52 weeks ended April 2, 2016.
  • Nielsen’s “Healthy, Happy Home” study was based on an English-language online survey conducted in April among 1,176 U.S. respondents.