(Feb. 27) More than one in four Americans always eat fresh produce when they eat out. Another 68% do so at least sometimes. More than nine in 10 Americans either sometimes or always eat fresh produce when they eat out, according to new Fresh Trends research commissioned by The Packer.

Those are impressive numbers. But some consumers are doing better than others — depending on where they live, how much they earn, how educated they are and other factors.

People who live in the Midwest and South, for instance, are significantly more likely to eat fresh produce at meals away from home than those who live in the Northeast or West, according to the Fresh Trends research.

Age also plays a role. Those 40 and older are more likely than their younger fellow citizens to always eat fresh produce when they eat out.

The 40-somethings and their elders also are much more likely to choose fast-food salads for their healthfulness than the younger crowd.

And while consumers as a whole say they choose vegetables over french fries when they eat out — by a 25% to 15% margin — those 39 and younger are much more likely than older Americans to choose fries over veggies.

The younger set also is less likely than their elders to like the price of fast-food fresh-cut fruit.

Americans 59 and older are more likely to pick a salad over fries or vegetables than those 58 and younger, and they’re less likely to have tried fresh-cut fruit at a fast-food restaurant.

Respondents who have children are more likely than the childless to have tried fresh-cut fruit at QSRs. Most parents surveyed said they only occasionally notice produce items on kids’ menus when they eat out.

That’s improving, though, at least at white-tablecloth restaurants, said Kevin Donovan, sales manager for Phillips Mushroom Farms, Kennett Square, Pa.

“I think we’ve seen a trend toward more fruit, maybe carrots, for children at fine-dining restaurants,” Donovan said. “Other restaurants, however, are ‘improving’ from french fries to fried chicken fingers.”

Economically speaking, it’s the solid middle of the middle class that leans toward fries over veggies — those who make $60,000 to $85,000 are more likely than any other income bracket to choose fries.

Education, or a lack thereof, also can play a role in whether or not people eat healthfully when they eat out.

Diners without a college degree are more likely to rate the healthfulness of fast-food salads as very good than those with a college degree. Those without college degrees also rate the quality of fast-food salads as very good more often than college graduates, and they’re more likely to be impressed with the taste.

And don’t forget where folks live. Consumers who live in the Northeast rate the price of the fast-food salads as very good more often than those in the South and West do. Midwesterners are the least likely to be happy about the price of fast-food salads, and they also aren’t as impressed with the quality.

Where you eat also can help determine whether you’ll eat fresh produce in restaurants. According to the Fresh Trends research, those who eat at a white-tablecloth restaurant three or more times a month are more likely to pick veggies over fries or even a salad than those who dine less at fancy spots.