More Restaurants Promoting Healthy Choice Menus

Restaurants are still resorting to numerous marketing strategies to lure consumers back through their doors. One of the biggest trends this year has been the promotion of healthy foods. This technique is even being used by some quick service restaurants with varying success.

As we move through 2012, pollsters for Technomic have found that consumers are upping their visits to QSRs. About 1/​3 of consumers are stopping by these establishments 2 or more times a week. As these consumers decide where they want to eat, they often consider whether a restaurant offers healthy choice items. About 43% of women say these menu items are very important and 21% of men say the same.

Restaurants operators should know that the desire for healthy eating isn’t always about losing weight. For women, the top factors in choosing these items are: Just like to eat healthy (50%), feel better after eating lower-​calorie dishes, and I don’t always know, on my own, which foods are healthiest (46%). In addition, about 60% of consumers say that they are most careful about calorie content when they eat dinner. For lunch, only 15% are counting calories.

The desire for information about healthy menu items extends beyond calories. Over 80% of consumers want data on fat, sodium and sugar content. Concerned parents also want to see this information made available for children’s items, too.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that while consumers like to have this information, many order the fully-​loaded entrees because they are treating themselves to a dinner out. However, marketers may be doing themselves a favor by promoting their healthy entrees as delicious. Once consumers venture to taste them, they may become regular patrons and trust that they are taking care of their health while eating out.

[Source: By the Numbers: Tools for Eating Better Away from Home. AMEX Market Briefing. April 2012. Web. 9 May 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.