Many consumers are on the lookout for healthier menu items, but the majority believe that healthy menu items are too expensive.
New research from Mintel has revealed that the shift away from calorie counting and toward holistic wellness has led to a search among U.S. consumers for restaurants that provide clear indicators of healthy items.
Mintel’s research shows that nearly half (48%) of consumers believe that it is too difficult to find healthy items on restaurant menus, and 68% of consumers agree that restaurants should call out healthy claims on menus.
In 2015, 25% of Americans looked for nutritional claims on menus more than the year before.
As consumers look to incorporate healthier, more well-rounded diets as part of their daily lives, 36% are more frequently preparing healthier food at home instead eating at restaurants compared to last year. Further, 64% of consumers believe many healthy restaurant dishes are too expensive.
However, consumers appear willing to indulge when dining out despite their interest in health: 62% of restaurant goers agree that taste is more important than nutrition, with 86% saying that dining out is a treat. One way restaurants can satisfy consumers looking to indulge is by offering healthy substitutions. Nearly half (46%) of restaurant goers are interested in more healthful side options, and 27% are already replacing unhealthy sides with healthier options compared to last year. Another one third (35%) of consumers are interested in more dishes that heavily feature vegetables.
“As Americans adopt a more holistic approach to their diets, they expect clarity from foodservice establishments, specifically by making healthy items easily identifiable and including more nutritional claims on menus. At the same time, many consumers view dining out as a way to indulge,” said Caleb Bryant, foodservice analyst at Mintel. “Restaurants should offer consumers a way to indulge and also incorporate nutrition by expanding menus to include more healthy sides, while also showcasing healthful preparation methods, such as grilled instead of fried foods. This provides options for whatever mood diners are in, whether they want to eat healthy, are looking to indulge, or possibly do both.”