Salad-bar sales cross economic borders, retailers say. Consumers use the offerings in a variety of ways. In addition to building a salad any way they wish, retailers report, customers are using salad bars for purposes other than lunch or a dinner side dish.
Many customers are finding that the prepackaged precuts are not in the quantity they need and they are turning to the salad bar for stir fry and soup ingredients or as components for fruit and vegetable platters.
"People like variety. They buy in components," said one operator.
"Our salad bars are a quick way to grab cut produce, in the quantity you need, for stir fry, soups and accompaniments to meals," said Shana Pritchett, registered dietitian and public relations associate at Dominick's Finer Foods, Northlake, Ill.
"People are looking for short cuts around the holidays," said Darell Pozzi, produce manager at Draeger's, San Mateo, Calif. "We have yellow, green and red peppers all ready sliced, for example. We have in-house-made dressings and hard boiled eggs."
"Salad bars cut across demographics," said Tom DeVries, director of food service for D&W Food Centers, Grand Rapids, Mich. "People are eating healthier and salad bars provide a destination point."