Industry debates major issues at first ever Leafy Salad Innovation Day

The need to trial new lettuce breeds that will sustain more extreme weather conditions was just one of the subjects discussed at the first ever Leafy Salad Innovation Day.

The event was hosted by Northern Irish processor Willowbrook Foods in Corby last month to bring together key industry players including breeders and growers.

Debates covered ideas on how the leafy salad industry can reduce the amount of salad that is wasted as well as how the industry can make purchasing and eating lettuce a more positive experience.

The need to provide tastier and more desired lettuce leaves to restaurants and catering companies to support healthier eating was identified, as was the need to help consumers recognise that lettuce is a healthy meal option and not just a garnish.

Willowbrook Foods procurement manager Jonathan Magowan said: "Selecting leafy salad varieties that can sustain washing, drying and chilled haulage is vital. Yet we also have to look towards innovation, trialling new breeds and getting the right product to market."

Leafy salad producers Jepco, Valefresco and Len Wright Salads as well as breeders Shamrock Seed, Enza Zaden and Rijk Zwaan were among the delegates at innovation day.

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