Salads, blueberries, avocados and sweet potatoes are transforming the fast-food industry.

Pushed to offer more healthful fare to consumers, fast-food chains are finding ways to incorporate more fresh produce into their menus.

Fresh fruits and vegetables take a starring role in companies’ efforts to convey to consumers about the healthfulness their fare


8. Quick-serve restaurants get healthyJan. 16

McDonald’s puts lettuce supplier front and center in TV commercials

By Mike Hornick, Staff Writer

McDonald’s features growers and ranchers in a series of television commercials launched Jan. 2.

The restaurant chain’s suppliers appearing in the ads: Dirk Giannini, partner in Christensen & Giannini LLC, Salinas, Calif.; Frank Martinez, principal in Saddle View Farms, Warden, Wash.; and Steve Foglesong, owner of Black Gold Cattle Co., Astoria, Ill.

They provide lettuce, potatoes and beef, respectively.


Feb. 12

More restaurants join group’s Kids Live Well program

By Mike Hornick, Staff Writer

Since its launch last July, participation in its Kids Live Well program has jumped from 19 to 68 restaurant brands, according to the National Restaurant Association.

To join the program, restaurants agree to offer and promote menu items based on nutritional science, which includes the U.S. Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines.

The restaurants and menu items are featured on


March 19

McDonald’s ads push kids’ nutrition

By Mike Hornick, Staff Writer

With its nationwide rollout of apple slices in Happy Meals recently completed, McDonald’s USA is touting the nutritional benefits with a new series of TV ads and a chef contest for children and parents.


Avocados are a classy way to dress up a sandwich, and more fast-food chains are figuring it out.

April 2

Smashburger, Wendy’s join avocado craze

By Coral Beach, Staff Writer

Following the lead of Subway and Burger King last year, two more fast food chains now have guacamole and fresh avocados on their sandwiches.

Wendy’s Co., Dublin, Ohio, and Smashburger Master LLC, Denver, debuted their menu options March 22.

At Wendy’s restaurants, customers are encouraged to “rock the guac” with a spicy chicken guacamole club sandwich.


Seasonal promotions showed off sweet potatoes and blueberries in May.

May 7

Burger chains beef up fresh produce offerings

By Coral Beach, Staff Writer

From baked sweet potatoes to handmade salads, the latest advertising campaign by Wendy’s International Inc. focuses on fresh produce, leaving the question “Where’s the beef” relegated to the burger wars of the past generation.

Launched in late April, the multimedia campaign features Wendy Thomas, daughter of founder Dave Thomas and namesake for the worldwide chain of more than 6,500 fast-food restaurants. In television commercials she tells viewers that the chain’s new menu items carry on the tradition of her father’s core values of fresh preparation and premium ingredients.

The TV spots promote that fresh produce is chopped and prepared by hand in individual restaurants, unlike other chains that use fresh-cut produce from foodservice suppliers. ...

Not to be left out of the fresh craze, Burger King Corp., Miami, recently launched what corporate officials say is the broadest expansion of food offerings in its 58-year history.

More than a dozen new menu items include three salads billed as “garden fresh.” ...

The new salads on the BK menu are classic Caesar, BLT and apple-cranberry. All three can be topped with grilled or crispy fried chicken breast meat. The suggested retail price is $4.99.


May 14

Wendy’s adds Carolina sweet spuds

By Melissa Shipman, Staff Writer

Three North Carolina suppliers will provide product for Wendy’s rollout of baked sweet potatoes as a side dish in May.

Representatives from Nash Produce, Nashville, N.C.; Ham Produce Co., Snow Hill, N.C.; and Wayne E. Bailey, Chadbourn, N.C.; all confirmed they are part of the program and are pleased with the new partnership.


May 14

Blueberries in season at McDonald’s

By Coral Beach, Staff Writer

McDonald’s is offering fresh blueberries with oatmeal in a seasonal promotion that lasts through Aug. 3.

The blueberry banana nut oatmeal debuted May 7 and is available all day on the McDonald’s menu. McDonald’s fruit and maple oatmeal, which includes fresh apple pieces, is still available.

Naturipe Farms LLC is supplying snack-size blueberry packs to Oak Brook, Ill.-based McDonald’s Corp. for the oatmeal deal, said Robert Verloop, executive vice president of marketing for the Naples, Fla., company.


Sept. 24

More produce may join the menu at McDonald’s

By Tom Karst, National Editor

McDonald’s is putting calorie counts on food items listed on its drive-through and in-store menu boards, suggesting fruits and vegetables may get closer to star billing in the future.

McDonald’s U.S. president Jan Fields said that beginning the week of Sept. 17 the 14,000-unit-strong quick-service chain will provide calorie information on its menus.