Philadelphia is home to the cheesesteak, the hoagie, the cheesesteak hoagie, and just lately the cheesesteak soft pretzel. In 1999, Men’s Fitness magazine named it the fattest city in the country, a distinction it has since had trouble shaking. But maybe things are turning around. A new study by Dole Fresh Vegetables, suggests that Philadelphians may actually prefer salad to their junk food. Or maybe just with their junk food.
Dole, a subsidiary of Dole Food Company, Inc., the world’s largest producer of fresh fruits and vegetables, surveyed the buying and consumption habits of salad consumers throughout the United States and Canada over an 18-month period. Philadelphia ranked among the top 2010 salad markets in the United States. What does that mean exactly? According to Dole it means that Philadelphians:
• eat more salad per person than residents of other cities;
• have the potential to eat more salad and/or are more likely to try new salad blends;
• experiment with salad and salad ingredients in the kitchen; or
• serve salad as a meal.
According to Dole’s press release announcing the survey results, Chris Mayhew, senior brand manager said, “… Philadelphia is among the most sophisticated salad markets in the country and … salad consumers here are much more likely to use salad as a meal or as the basis for creative new lunch and dinner entrees. From a salad standpoint, The City of Brotherly Love is a trendsetter.”
The company believes that Americans in general are becoming less interested in salads at a time when the latest health research suggests they need them the most. Dole now offers 32 separate blends of salads and nine salad kits, easier opening bags and recommendations on which types of salads go best with which entrees.
Bagged salad is a great convenience and does encourage people to add something healthy and raw to every meal. Salad kits with dressings and toppings included can be a good choice for those times when there is just no time. The packaged dressings, however, are not always the best choice. Although Dole has a nutrition fact panel on its website for each salad kit, there is no breakdown of the actual ingredients in the dressing. Although advertised as “all natural,” and claiming to contain no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, the dressings could contain unnecessary sugar as well as ingredients that are not the best choice for you.
It’s just as easy to shake some Dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar or lemon juice in a bottle with salt and pepper. That’s the best no fuss dressing for any salad.
To honor Philadelphia as a “Top 2010 Salad City,” (one of 25 cities with the distinction) the company is creating an “Official 2010 Philly Summer Salad” recipe to encourage local salad fans to eat even more bagged salads. Keep an eye out for it and hope that it doesn’t come with soft pretzel croutons and cheesesteak crumbles.