After comfort food soared in popularity throughout the height of the pandemic, it’s no surprise the pendulum is now swinging the other way—consumers are interested in better-for-you offerings made with clean labels and real ingredients. According to Technomic’s recent Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report, 66% of consumers said that they ordered healthy options at least sometimes, with nearly 10% saying they always ordered healthy items. And when it comes to how they incorporate healthy items into their diets, 41% said they substitute a healthier side with their entree, 28% said they integrate at least one healthy element in their meals and 23% said they order an item described as healthy.
For operators, the pressure to add better-for-you menu items is big—but amid a labor crunch, it can feel a little overwhelming. Thankfully, there are ways to add better-for-you options to the menu without stressing kitchen staff.
Prepared foods and speed-scratch components
One easy way to add healthier options to the menu while keeping labor low is to use prepared foods. For instance, ready-made Homestyle Chicken Salad or Cranberry Almond Chicken Salad from Good Foods Foodservice give operators the opportunity to add a high-protein, delicious option to the lunch or dinner menu without adding a list of new tasks for back-of-house workers. Speed-scratch ingredients, such as dips and sauces, are also a great way to boost the better-for-you factor without stressing staff. Try Plant-Based Queso Dip, nut-free, dairy-free, and made with cauliflower as the first ingredient to amp up the flavor of dishes like enchiladas or nachos, or use Nut-Free Plant-Based Tzatziki Dip, made with cauliflower, herbs and cucumber, to bring out the freshness in Mediterranean-style dishes.
Other speed-scratch and prepared options that can make menu updates easy include single-serving cups of mashed avocado, as well as avocado products such as Tableside Chunky Guacamole, Avocado Salsa with fresh tomatillos and avocado pulp—all made with hand-scooped avocados, perfect as upcharge items on an array of dishes, all without the need to peel, scoop, chop or mash avocados in-house.
Highlighting clean-label and real ingredients
As previously mentioned, many consumers look to the menu itself to guide their healthy choices, which is why it’s important for operators to highlight items that are made with clean or real ingredients. Ingredients such as rotisserie chicken, Greek yogurt, hand-scooped avocados, fresh herbs and fresh veggies should all be called out where applicable as a way to indicate to consumers what they can expect if they order a certain item. Technomic’s Healthy Eating report notes that about one-third of consumers say they’d be very likely to order healthier items from restaurants if they were offered, and 30% say they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers some healthy options—even if they don’t end up ordering those healthy items. In short, it’s beneficial to offer some healthier items, since interested consumers see the option as appealing even on occasions where they don’t order them.
As more and more consumers focus on choosing better-for-you options, operators will continue looking for ways to meet the demand without stretching labor. To learn more about speed-scratch options and other menu items available from Good Foods Foodservice, visit www.goodfoodsfoodservice.com.
This post is sponsored by Good Foods Group LLC