Leafy salad

Salad suppliers had a good summer, new figures suggest

Salad suppliers have hailed the summer of 2013 as an “all-time record-breaker” for sales, which saw Brits tuck into 226 million wholehead lettuces, salad bags and bowls.

Sales of wholehead salads hit 90.9 million units between mid-June and mid-September [Kantar Worldpanel 12 w/e 15 September], with prepared salads coming in at 135.3 million units [Nielsen 12 w/e 14 September].

This amounts to an overall increase in volume sales of 10% - the equivalent of an additional two million salads - and marks the highest summer salad sales suppliers have ever seen in the UK, surpassing the previous record set in 2012, according to the British Leafy Salads Association (BLSA).

Value sales also rose year on year, with wholehead salads up 3.9%, reaching £68.7m, and prepared salads up by 11% to £156.9m [Kantar / Nielsen].

BLSA chairman Anthony Gardiner said in the wholehead sector, little gem lettuce had driven a lot of the growth sector this year.

The BLSA added sales had been supported by the warm weather this year, but research suggested the biggest driver behind the increase was shoppers’ desire to eat more healthily. In a survey of 1,000 consumers, commissioned by the BLSA, 72% cited healthy eating as the reason they had bought more salads this year, with just 23% saying they had bought more because of the weather. Thirty-four percent said cookery books and TV chefs had prompted them to buy more salads.

“It’s great to see that people feel more confident and inspired to include lettuce and salad leaves in their meals,” said Gardiner. At present, lettuce and salad leaves accounted for about 5% of the UK’s fresh vegetable intake, Gardiner added, “so there is definitely an opportunity for the British public to tuck into more salads. We hope to see the sales continue to increase next year”.