Bagged Salad Makers Boast of Breakthroughs

Bagged Salad Makers Boast of Breakthroughs

Food & Drink

Bagged Salad Makers Boast of Breakthroughs

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By Cari Martens

Two packaged lettuce brands are touting breakthroughs that they hope will be welcome news to consumers.

On one side of the ocean, Lasting Leaf lettuce from British-based supermarket chain Waitrose claims to have developed a process that allows lettuce to stay fresh and crisp up to two days longer.

On the North American side of the pond, Fresh Express has recently introduced a new online tool that lets people know where their leafy greens were grown.

We’ll start with the story that’s happening on our shores.

Back at the start of this year, The Food Channel identified Food Sourcing/Vetting as one of the top ten food trends of 2010. The food contamination scares of the last couple years have driven consumer desires to learn more about the foods they eat—including the origin of the foods. Now a consumer with a computer or smart phone can track down that information with Fresh Express bagged salads.

The Leaf Locator tool from Fresh Express not only lets you discover where the greens were grown, it also provides information about the lettuce and spinach growing regions that make them ideal for nurturing a variety of leaves, from romaine to butter lettuce to sweet, tender greens.

The information is revealed by entering ID codes found on the bagged salad package into the Leaf Locator tool at http://www.FreshExpress.com/salad. Twenty different varieties of salads can be tracked with the Leaf Locator. The tool is not currently available for organic salads or coleslaw.

Over in the UK, it’s all about delaying the wilt. Lasting Leaf bagged salads from supermarket giant Waitrose uses a natural process that prolongs freshness for an additional 48 hours, ideal for singles and empty nesters who may need more time to consume a full bag.

The process takes less than a minute and involves passing the leaves through hot water before dousing them with chilled water. It’s a blanching technique that many cooks use to keep vegetables crisp and tender. It also helps preserve flavor and color. Waitrose applies the process on hardier leaves such as iceberg and romaine.

Asked why no one else had used such a simple technique before, a Waitrose spokesman told the Daily Mail, ‘sometimes the obvious things are staring at you before someone does anything with it.’

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