While a number of recent studies indicate that menu labeling has little effect on diners’ menu choices, a report from NPD Group may offer a glimpse into the reason why. According to NPD, only one in four consumers say they eat healthy when dining out, while the majority admits a desire to treat themselves when at a restaurant.
Asked to give a reason for not making healthy choices, 37 percent of consumers said they want to eat what they want when they go out. Many simply don’t pay attention or don’t feel that watching what they eat is a priority. And a number of people still don’t find enticing healthy options on menus: 14 percent note a lack of variety among healthy items and 13 percent say healthy items don’t sound or look appetizing.
Operators that offer opportunities for customization are most likely to appeal to both health conscious and indulgent diners. According to NPD, the 24 percent of consumers who do make healthy choices still want to eat what they want—but they’re more likely to switch the protein or preparation method or request their extras “on the side.”