Americans’ definition of healthy eating has changed over the past two years, especially among younger consumers. Forty-two percent of consumers and 51% of 18- to 34-year-olds equate health with foods that make them feel better through functional benefits, clean ingredients and sustainability, according to Technomic’s Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report. Take a look at how this and other health trends are shaping today’s menus.
1. Transparency rules
Fifty-four percent of consumers are calling for more transparent menus, with 47% saying they are more concerned about additives in their food than they were two years ago. This trend has not only pushed chains to disclose calorie counts and other nutrition information on menus, but it has also motivated operators to be more transparent about ingredient sourcing, packaged food labels and food preparation methods. Transparency can pay off: 40% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase and willing to pay more for clean food.
2. Feeling better trumps weight loss
Although consumers may still be looking at calorie counts, fewer restaurant customers are choosing healthier foods in order to lose weight. Overall, 46% of consumers order healthy items to feel better physically after they eat, and 59% indicate that a food or beverage described as aiding digestion is healthier. Gut-friendly ingredients such as turmeric, flax seeds, aloe and dairy products with probiotics are on the rise on menus, finds Technomic.
3. Natural ingredients are a priority
Even though there is no clear definition of a natural food, 61% of consumers equate natural ingredients with healthy eating when ordering from a menu. They also associate natural and organic claims with foods that taste better—ditto with the words “fresh,” “local,” “clean” and “real.”
4. Bring on the veggies
Dishes that contain a full serving of vegetables rank high in healthfulness with consumers: 85% perceive these as healthier choices. Diners are also more likely to order plant-forward items than they were in the past—even if they are not following a vegetarian diet. Half of consumers now want restaurants to offer a greater variety of vegetarian entrees, according to Technomic’s Center of the Plate: Seafood & Vegetarian Consumer Trend Report.
5. The buzz around functional
Foods making functional claims are impacting healthy-eating decisions. Those with antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, rank the highest, with 73% of consumers believing that antioxidants can promote health and wellness. Younger consumers are also interested in foods with stress-relieving attributes, with 49% putting these items in the better-for-you category.
Organizations everywhere are looking for tastier, more sustainable, and healthier options to serve consumers. The Phillips Gourmet chef-approved clean-label blend line does just that. Blended Burgers deliver a flavor-packed punch in a ready-to-cook 4 oz. patty. Comprised of 60% ground beef and 40% mushrooms, it gives consumers the ability to cut calories, fat, and cholesterol without compromising any flavor. If you'd like to stay in control of portion size or make other blended meals (like tacos or chili), our 5 lb. Blended Beef chub is perfect for your own creations. Even better news: For each blended chub you serve, instead of an all-beef meal, you’re saving the planet 4,000 gallons of water! Rather serve local meat or targeting a vegetarian audience? Blend-Ready mushrooms are diced, moisture-reduced, and ready to be incorporated into your menu.