Value-added is a common term used by vegetable shippers and processors. It simply means that vegetables taken from the field are cut, trimmed, blended or processed in a way that makes them more attractive to consumers.
Most consumers are caught up in an active lifestyle that allows less time for preparing home-cooked meals. This is where value-added products are important. Today a shopper can buy an excellent multi-ingredient salad that is already chopped, washed, cooled and ready to serve. All that is needed is the dressing and sometimes even that is sold in a packet within the master package. Vegetable processors offer a wide selection of salad mixes.
The standard iceberg lettuce-based mix usually consists of iceberg, Romaine, chopped cabbage and shredded carrots. There are European blends that have Romaine, butter lettuce, escarole, endive, radicchio, carrot and cabbage ribbons as ingredients.
The gourmet mesclun mix contains exotic items like red oak leaf lettuce, red romaine, lolla rosa, bronze leaf, arugula, mache, mizuna, tatsoi, frisee and red mustard. The mesclun mix provides a sweet-sour-bitter flavored salad. The taste of the salad depends upon the selection of ingredients and the ratio of each ingredient used in the mix. Also there is the usual offering of coleslaw mix and prepackaged spinach leaves.