The question of the moment for restaurant operators: Are the winds of healthy change truly blowing, or is it only so much hot air? Technomic’s newest study finds that nearly half of consumers want healthier menu items, but only about a quarter of them actively follow through when dining out.

“There is often a disconnect between consumers’ intentions and their actions,” says Darren Tristano, Technomic’s executive vice president.. “Many consumers are actually making substantial changes to their overall habits, even basing which restaurants they frequent in part on their impressions of the brands’ healthfulness. However, as many of us know from personal experience, diners do not always follow through on their intentions once it is time to order.”

Technomic developed the 2010 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report to help restaurants, manufacturers and suppliers stay on top of consumer attitudes and trends as they relate to healthy eating. Interesting findings include:

  • Only 19 percent of consumers feel that food described as "healthy" on the menu does not taste as good as other options. Contrary to previously held beliefs, it appears more consumers today feel that foods labeled as healthy can still be satisfying.
  • Consumers strongly disagree with the notion that the restaurant industry is responsible for America’s obesity epidemic, with only 16 percent placing blame solely on restaurants.
  • Consumers confirm that their eating behavior differs significantly for at-home and away-from-home dining occasions. Two out of five consumers describe their at-home eating as “very healthy” while only about a quarter say the same about away-from home dining.

The 2010 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report provides an in-depth look at how the foodservice industry can offer healthy options that still meet consumers’ needs and expectations.

MenuMonitor,  Technomic’s exclusive online trend-tracking resource was analyzed to show how leading, emerging and independent restaurants position menu items as healthy and how that has shifted in recent years. Additionally, an online survey of 1,500 consumers explores how consumer attitudes toward health shape their foodservice use and purchasing behavior.

Source: Technomic