OAK BROOK, ILL. — McDonald’s Corp. is introducing a new salad blend featuring red leaf lettuce and curls of crisp carrots combined with chopped romaine, baby spinach and baby kale.
|Jessica Foust, McDonald’s chef and registered dietitian|
“Color in produce is an expression of different nutrients,” said Jessica Foust, McDonald’s chef and registered dietitian. “The new salad blend offers at least 2.5 cups of vegetables.”
McDonald’s sources its red and green lettuces from Taylor Farms, Fresh Express, Ready Pac and McEntire Produce. Last year, the fast-food company shifted from using iceberg lettuce in its salads to a more nutrient-dense blend, said Andrew Williams, director of product management at Fresh Express.
|Andrew Williams, director of product management at Fresh Express|
“Iceberg has been a staple of salads since the 1930s, but McDonald’s looked at its salads and decided it needed to innovate by adding more flavor and nutritious ingredients. We’re also seeing a huge shift in the industry as a whole to kales, arugulas, and spinach.”
Most of McDonald’s lettuce is harvested in Salinas Valley in California during the summer and Yuma, Ariz., during the winter, according to the company. When the greens are ready to be picked, harvesters begin as early as midnight or 1 a.m., when the lettuce is crisp and fresh, Mr. Williams said.
“The greens are planted methodically to enable producers to harvest six days a week and is then cooled within four to six hours,” he said. “Farm workers then feed greens through a sorter and then the greens are double-washed, fed through another sorter, and bagged right before being shipped to distribution centers that ship to the individual McDonald's restaurants.”