Consumers' perception of what is considered healthy eating at restaurants is changing. Patrons are taking more of a balanced and personal approach; they're seeking out better-for-you foods offset by occasional indulgences. And health-halo claims like "local," "natural," "organic," "sustainable," "whole-wheat" and "free-range" are increasingly driving food choices, according to Technomic's Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report.
- 64% of consumers today—up from 57% in 2010—agree that it is important to eat healthy and pay attention to nutrition
- 50% of today's consumers report that they eat healthy food to have a nutritious and balanced diet
- 38% of consumers today—up from 33% in 2010—say they are more likely to visit restaurants that have healthy menu options, even if they don't to choose to order one
- More consumers today than polled in 2010 report that they consume local, organic, natural and sustainable foods at least once a week
- Half of consumers say that descriptors such as "low fat" and "low sugar" clearly signal health, but strongly detract from the taste of food. However, foods that indicate a serving of fruit or vegetables, or 100% whole wheat, highlight health on the menu while strongly enhancing consumers' taste perceptions
"Operators can leverage this growing interest in the health halo by developing the kinds of menu offerings than can underscore health without detracting from the taste perception," says Darren Tristano, VP of Technomic.