Posted in New Product Review.

When Wendy’s asked me to review their latest offering, the Strawberry Mango Chicken Salad, I was skeptical. I rarely eat fast food, but let’s face it – every so often I find myself in that situation. I also like to know what restaurants are offering because I do get a few clients who want to know the better fast food options. This is why I agreed to take a look (and a taste) and see what I thought. And although I partnered with Wendy’s for this post, I was fully prepared to not write the review at all if I found the product unacceptable. So there was that.

It seems as though there aren’t a ton of Wendy’s restaurants in Toronto, but I managed to find one. I bought two of the salads – a half size and a full size – just so I could see the consistency in packing, the actual sizes of the salads, and anything else that might be different.

From first glance, the salad looked good. The mango and strawberries were fresh and didn’t look like they had been previously frozen or anything. There seemed to be a nice mix of greens, and the chicken was actually warm on the cold salad, making it seem freshly-cooked to order.

The salad certainly smelled appetizing.

I plated the salads and added the honey-roasted sunflower seeds and the orange dressing.

The chicken seemed to be a solid piece of chicken – not pre-formed, and it was seasoned.

The Good:

The salad tasted good. It had the warm chicken, the cool greens, and the sweet fruit.

The large sized salad has around four servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit. Fantastic for a fast-food salad.

The fruit was in good condition, bright and sweet and fresh.

The dressing was delish. Sweet, but good. I really liked the orange flavour and it paired well with the salad.

Feta cheese. Love.

The full size salad has 450 calories. Perfect for a meal. It has 35 grams of protein, which is also more than adequate – I generally recommend 20-25 grams of protein per meal.

The Bad:

There’s 30 grams of sugar in the full-size salad, which is the size I’d eat for a meal. That’s a LOT of sugar. Some of it is from the fruit, but the salad dressing has 8 grams, and the sunflower seeds are sugar-coated. I think the salad would still taste good with plain sunflower seeds and a less-sweet dressing.

There’s a fair amount of iceberg lettuce hiding under the mixed greens. Hm. I’d rather have dark green leafies, which are more nutritious.

There’s no meatless option. I know that Wendy’s is running a business, and a business has to sell what people are actually going to buy. I suspect there’s not a big market for tofu or edamame among Wendy’s patrons, but in a perfect world, that option would exist. Hey Wendy’s! Let’s talk!

930 grams of sodium, although this isn’t a surprise for fast food.

The Verdict:

All in all, if I was in the position to order fast food, I’d order this salad, but modify it by leaving off the sunflower seeds, and using less dressing. That way I’d get most of the protein and all of the fruits and vegetables, without some of the added sugars.

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