(Jan. 8) IRWINDALE, Calif. — Time-crunched Americans are increasingly preparing meals that not only require less than 30 minutes but also consist of only one dish.

With its new Easy One-Dish Dinners promotion, Ready Pac Produce Inc. hopes to make sure fresh produce is part of that dish.

The monthlong promotion began the last week of December and includes more than 2.5 million coupons for Ready Pac fresh-cut fruit, vegetables and salads as well as convenient recipes.

“Americans are using fewer ingredients at dinner, and Ready Pac is responding to their needs with promotions such as Easy One-Dish Dinners,” said Marji Morrow, director of marketing. “This targeted promotion leverages the strength of our established, premium salad brand to help drive sales of all fresh-cut produce for our consumers. It will also build trial of our new Bistro To Go bowl salads, the ultimate convenient one-dish meal.”

In the promotion, Ready Pac will place booklets of coupons and recipes inside packages of its European-style salads.

The booklet features three coupons: one for 50 cents off any Ready Pac fresh-cut vegetable, one for 50 cents off any Ready Pac fresh-cut fruit and one for 50 cents off any Ready Pac Bistro To Go bowl salad, said Bill Zinke, vice president of marketing.

The booklet includes four recipes that incorporate a variety of Ready Pac products and directs consumers to the Ready Pac Web site for additional one-dish recipes, Zinke said.

Lack of time is one of the many factors influencing change in people’s dining habits.

According to a study by NPD Group Inc., a market research firm based in Port Washington, N.Y., half of all meals in the U.S. are prepared in 30 minutes or less. Moreover, many Americans are eliminating side dishes in order to decrease meal preparation time, a practice that can eliminate vegetables and salads.