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Summer Salad Flavor Trends

Posted: April 14, 2008

With warm weather just around the corner, people’s appetites are quickly turning from the soups and stews of winter to the light fresh salads of summer. Always popular on the menu, salads offer a unique look at flavor possibilities beyond this category. 

Versatility in flavor, texture and nutrition is key. With many consumers trying to eat healthier but still interested in innovative, ethnic flavors, new salads are flourishing on the menu. Just in time for summer, Mintel Menu Insights takes a look at the top ethnic flavors and ingredient combinations being used in salads in America.


On the American restaurant menu, certain salads are simply a must have. Often of traditional American cuisine—which dominates the salad menu with a 47% share—salads such as Caesar, chicken, garden and Cobb appear across all menu types. But even these traditional American salads are seeing exciting flavor innovation. 

Panera Bread makes a fresh and fruity Fuji Apple Chicken Salad. Containing all-natural citrus-herb chicken, mixed field greens, romaine lettuce, vine-ripened tomatoes, red onions and pecans, this entrée salad is enhanced by Gorgonzola cheese, apple chips and white balsamic Fuji apple vinaigrette. Likewise, Coco’s Bakery offers a variation on the traditional chicken salad. It’s Taste of the Season Salad features julienne chicken breast tossed with applewood smoked bacon, sweet candied walnuts, mixed gourmet greens and a white balsamic vinaigrette. This creative salad is topped with fresh orange slices and crumbled bleu cheese.