Chick-fil-A has eliminated Iceberg lettuce from its list of ingredients.
Recently the chefs at Chic-fil-A have been working on updating and expanding menu choices. They are working to get more salads and healthier sides on the menu. Their most recent addition was a superfood side featuring fresh, hand chopped kale and broccolini.
Chic-fil-A’s Atlanta based test kitchen is striving to come up with creative, nutritionally sound and tasty dishes to add to the menu. They are free to experiment with all types of different ingredients—except one—iceberg lettuce.
“We have a mandate: Never use iceberg lettuce,” David Farmer, Chick-fil-A vice president of menu strategy and development, said in an interview with Business Insider.
Instead of using iceberg lettuce, Chic-fil-A is opting to go with Kale or Romaine lettuce. Both have much higher nutritional values than their light green counterpart. Farmer calls iceberg lettuce tasteless and nutrient-less.
“It’s at the bottom of the salad food chain,” he says. “There is no nutritional value in iceberg lettuce.”
Iceberg lettuce does have some nutritional value. It contains vitamins A and K in fairly decent amounts. Its overall nutrient count is much lower than other green leafy vegetables. The disparity of iceberg lettuce’s nutrients actually lies in its weight in comparison to the other greens. Nutritionists suggest that if the calorie to nutrient value was used instead of the nutrient to weight ratio, the comparison becomes much more favorable for iceberg lettuce. But it still falls short.
Iceberg lettuce is just the most recent casualty to be nixed from Chic-fil-A’s menu. Coleslaw was recently dropped to make room for the kale based “superfood side.” According to Farmer, coleslaw had lost its popularity and had to go.
“It’s a bittersweet day for us because coleslaw has been on the menu for a long, long time,” Farmer said, “But its popularity has waned over the years … and the days of adding things to the menu without taking things away are behind us.”
Farmer says that Chic-fil-A is committed to providing healthier menu options. This starts with using more nutrient dense greens like Kale. The restaurant chain is also looking to expand its variety of salads and healthy side options. They currently offer:
• Fruit cup,
• Greek yogurt parfait,
• Side salad,
• Hearty breast of chicken soup
• The new superfood side
These are offered as healthier alternatives to the traditional waffle cut fries.
“Our focus over the last couple years has been around health,” Farmer says. “We’re seeing purchase behavior shift toward healthier items, so we’re fully committed to providing more nutritional options for customers.”