The burger wars have calmed, but fast-food restaurants are still attacking each other, this time taking a stab at claims of value involving fresh produce.

Salad wars could be up next

Ashley Bentley
Foodservice Focus

Burger commercials have caught my eye lately, not because I’m especially tempted by fast food, but because of how they’re portraying — or not portraying — produce.

One that had pseudo-subliminal messaging involved a man ordering a value meal, and the worker at the counter ripping the tomatoes and lettuce off the burger to create it.

So let me get this straight — the premium version of this sandwich would have the produce, but the value version nixes it?

Doesn’t completely make sense, considering the produce should not have been as expensive as any of the other burger components.

The message the chain was trying to send was that it piled its burgers high with the premium ingredients, like lettuce, onions, tomatoes, pickles and all the goodies, while its competitors skimped on the produce for its value meals.

A premium product at a value price, with produce being the premium. That’s a great message for produce.

But what about the other implications? The reason other chains would be nixing veggies in value meals is because consumers might take a plain burger, but they’re not likely to take a veggie-filled bun sans meat.
 
The meat is still the necessity, and veggies are still being treated as a side dish (even though, if you’ve read my columns before, you know my feelings on the lack of veggie sandwiches at restaurants).

Still, I say veggies as a key part of a fast-food commercial is a good sign. The commercial showed the plain, boring patty and bun in a bad light, and then let the veggie-packed sandwich swoop in and give consumers hope for a great burger.

Wendy’s is launching a line of salads that adds some produce items, including apples, to its repertoire. Advertising and promotions are scheduled with the salad line’s rollout in mid-July.

Just as what happened with premium and specialty burgers in the fast-food segment, salads seem to be accelerating in their own little competition.

Hey, maybe next we’ll see salad wars between the quick-serve giants. From the perspective of a consumer, one can only hope.

E-mail abentley@thepacker.com

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