Little gem lettuces, prepared bowl salads and rocket were the key lines that boosted salad sales to record-breaking heights this summer, suppliers have said.

The British Leafy Salads Association this week reported volume sales of wholehead and prepared salads hit 226 million units between June and September this year - up 10% year on year and the highest its members had ever seen [Kantar Worldpanel 12 w/e 15 September Nielsen 12 w/e 14 September].

On the wholehead side, little gem lettuce had been a key driver, said BLSA chairman Anthony Gardiner, while Florette picked out salad bowls, which it said delivered 66% of the growth seen in the of the leafy prepared salad category this summer. “As we move towards 2014, we’ll be continuing to invest in insight and innovation to ultimately help unlock the category’s full potential,” commercial director Sandy Sewell added.

Natures Way Foods also highlighted the strong performance of bowls. “Leafy bowls containing additional ingredients are convenient and come in sizes which offer a good portion for one person,” said category and innovation director Sarah Baldock.

Salad kits - such as for Caesar salads - had also done well, with rocket also putting in a good performance, she added. “Wild rocket has become one of the most recognisable leaves thanks to a large number of chefs and restaurants using it.”

The good weather this summer helped boost sales, but the BLSA said consumer research also suggested consumers were eating more salad because of growing interest in healthy eating.

Sewell added investment in new product innovation had also helped grow sales, citing Florette’s new Peppery Crispy mix, which contains Florette’s trademarked Peppercress leaf, as an example.

More on this story: Salad suppliers celebrate ‘record-breaking’ summer sales