It’s Chick-fil-A’s turn to focus on salads

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Posted: Monday, April 22, 2013 12:00 am

ATLANTA — Chick-fil-A said it will “raise the standard for salads” at its more than 1,700 fast-food restaurants this month with the introduction of new menu items.

It’s the latest salvo among competitors in an industry that is constantly testing new products to gain market share, although one expert said privately held Chick-fil-A may be trying to catch up with larger competitors that have placed more emphasis on salads and wraps.

David Farmer, Chick-fil-A’s vice president of product strategy and development, said the chain is responding to “constantly fluctuating” changes in consumers’ taste preferences.

“We took a hard look at our current salad line and decided those options were not as relevant to customers as they were just a few short years ago,” Farmer said in announcing the new lineup.

McDonald’s and other chains have had a head start in pushing a range of salad options, especially for the lunch crowd, according to Ron Paul, president of Technomic, a company that tracks food industry trends.

McDonald’s, for example, offers 10 salad selections. Wendy’s, which Paul said is still experimenting, offers its Garden Sensations salads.

Paul said Chick-fil-A is “finally joining the parade. Salads are becoming an acceptable entree and are no longer a side item.” Technomic’s research showed consumers increasingly want bold flavors and unique menu selections for salads.

Chick-fil-A said it will offer three new premium salads beginning April 29 — a Cobb salad, an Asian salad and a grilled market salad —and a revamped side salad. The restaurant is introducing new dressings, too. The chain also said it is improving its grilled chicken cool wrap.

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