Fit or fat? A quick look at the obesity rates in the US may not lead us to think that health is important, but it is. The availability of healthier menus is a prime motivator for about four out of 10 consumers, second only to price. People want healthy options.

Our data shows that the quarter of consumers who say they are dining out less frequently are not doing so because of the economy; they are staying home because they feel they are not being offered healthy food at restaurants.

Mintel Food & Drink Analyst, Patty Johnson, argues that these very fundamental consumer expectations are not alone, their desires fit with those of legislators, who also want healthy options, or at least they want information about health, for which people can base their decisions about what to buy.

Tucked neatly into the US health care legislation signed into law in March 2010, was a provision requiring nutrition labeling for all food sold at chain restaurants with 20-units or more. Once implemented, calorie information for all food and beverage items on menus, menu boards and drive-thru boards is required. Additional nutrition information in writing is also required to be available in the establishment for consumers upon request.

Patty argues:

  • Both consumers and legislators want healthier restaurant fare
  • Increase development of high veg, high fiber, high flavor foodservice soup options
  • Introduce healthier offerings with a positioning that acknowledges operators’ prime directive: restaurants filled with happy, healthy guests

So are you meeting customer expectations??