Ingredients are evidently top of mind for operators as we enter the summer months. As consumers pay more attention to healthfulness and sourcing, both chains and independents are addressing the growing demands for local, better-for-you foods—and being upfront about their efforts. Because, it would seem, putting “healthy” and “locally sourced” on the menu are no longer good enough; consumers now want details.
1. Health matters more
A quarter of diners say healthy menu options are important in their restaurant choice, up from 20 percent last year. Even higher, 31 percent of millennials say healthy menu options count in their decision, with 58 percent of them listing food quality as a top factor when dining out.1
2. Big chains’ war on unnaturals
Panera Bread switched to “clean” salad dressings void of artificial colors, sweeteners or preservatives. Taco Bell and Pizza Hut are nixing artificial ingredients. And Chipotle is the first mass-market chain to eliminate all GMOs from its pantry.
3. Local, refined
As more operators tout “local” on the menu—mentions in main dishes increased 137 percent in the past five years—the definition of local is evolving. More than a third of consumers will pay an extra 5 percent for menu items sourced from their city, while only three in 10 would do the same for items sourced in-state.2
1. Alix Partners