Chicago (July 21, 2010) – Last month’s recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) confirmed what Mintel’s research and consumers have already been suggesting: restaurants need healthier menus. Many restaurants have already listened. Between Q2 2009 and Q2 2010 menu items labeled as”healthy”grew 65%, according to Mintel Menu Insights.

The DGAC recommendations also include specific instructions for kids’ menus, urging restaurants to include a focus on children, as”prevention of obesity in childhood is the single most powerful public health approach to combating America’s obesity epidemic. “The 10% increase in menu items that contain fruits or vegetables between Q2 2007 and Q2 2010 reported by Mintel Menu Insights is a start, but restaurants still have a ways to go.

“Restaurants should start considering how they’re going to make kids’ menus healthier,”says Eric Giandelone, director of foodservice research at Mintel. ” it’s important to get feedback from both parents and kids to provide a healthy balance on the menu that kids will want to eat and parents will approve of. “

Adults need their fruits and veggies just as much as children do and according to the DGAC, menus should provide it. Mintel research found that among restaurant-goers who say they’re eating more healthfully when dining out, more than half are doing so by including more fruits and vegetables. There has also been a 12% increase in menu items that were labeled as vegetarian between Q2 2007 and Q2 2010.

“Healthy menu development opportunity exists in providing vegetable and seafood-based appetizers, soups, salads and entrees,”notes Eric Giandelone. ” an added bonus in offering these ingredients is if prepared thoughtfully, they will naturally cut down on the fat and calories of a menu item, making it a more favorable choice for their patrons. “

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