Produce featured in the new Garden Fresh, Mediterranean Chicken, Classic Club and Grilled Chicken and Baby Spinach salads includes romaine and iceberg lettuce, baby spinach, onions, carrots, cucumbers, grape tomatoes and green peppers.

“Fresh produce is extremely important to Subway,” said Les Winograd, a public relations officer for the Milford, Conn.-based company officially known as Doctor's Associates Inc. “It’s a matter of our reputation. Subway has been recognized for our ability to offer a healthier alternative to traditionally fatty and greasy fast food, and fresh produce plays a very important role in that.”

Subway began putting the Produce for Better Health Foundation’s 5 a Day logo on its tray liners in 1997.

Subway will source at least 40 million pounds of produce for its new salads, and possibly another 40 million more, said Tina Fitzgerald, a buyer for the Subway franchisee-owned Independent Purchasing Cooperative, Miami. The co-op sources about 255 million pounds of fresh produce a year for Subway.

To meet demand created by the introduction of the new salads, more spinach may have to be planted, Fitzgerald said. That’s what happened last year, when Subway switched from white to red onions and couldn’t find enough red onions.

The co-op buys produce from Fresh Express Inc., Salinas, Calif.; Taylor Farms of California, Salinas; Club Chef Inc., Cincinnnati; and about 20 other companies, Fitzgerald said.

To help promote the new salads, Subway will offer an “American Idol Meal,” named for the popular television show the company sponsors. The meal will consist of one of the four new salads and a drink served in an American Idol-themed cup.

Two of the four new salads were created in partnership with Atkins Nutritionals Inc. The Classic Club Salad contains nine grams of net carbs and the Grilled Chicken and Baby Spinach Salad six grams. Subway also makes Atkins-approved wraps.