has introduced four "totally reinvented" salads to its menu. These salads entice the ever-more savvy consumer with the promise, according to the press release that landed in Gut Check's mailbox this morning, of "high quality ingredients, freshly prepared." In addition, on the Wendy's homepage, you can access more information about the salads by clicking a button labeled "Try a real salad today."
Go ahead and click that button. There are a few facts you need to learn.
We don't -- or won't -- question Wendy's claims of "high quality ingredients, freshly prepared." But that "real salad" line? Only if by "real," the chain means "conforming to popular standards of the fat-laden crap every fast-food chain tries to shovel down our throats as if our livers were being plumped for foie gras."
There are four salads: the Apple Pecan Chicken Salad, the Baja Salad, the Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad and the BLT Cobb Salad.
Let us look first at the Baja Salad, which is (again quoting the press release) the following:
A blend of fresh lettuce and spring mix salad greens, topped with natural cheddar and pepper jack cheeses, guacamole made with Hass avocados, freshly prepared Pico de Gallo, all natural tortilla chips, and Wendy's famous rich and meaty chili. This salad is served with all natural, preservative-free Creamy Red Jalapeno dressing.
How many calories does this real salad provide?
No, once more, higher.
740 calories -- or 200 more than the widely reviled Double Down Sandwich
that KFC introduced earlier this year. The salad also has 47 grams of fat, 17 grams of saturated fat and 1990 milligrams of sodium. Here is the nutritional info for all four:
As you can see, the "healthiest" salad, the Apple Pecan Chicken Salad, still clocks in at 580 calories.
In Wendy's defense, we haven't found any instance of the restaurant claiming that these salads are healthy, but the cynicism of its "real salad"/"premium ingredient"/"freshly prepared" ploy should be obvious.
Once again, if you must eat at a fast-food restaurant, just order the damn burger.