Healthy eating: What’s on the eating out menu?

Our latest survey on healthy eating shows that more and more consumers are thinking about healthy eating and are either already changing their diet or intend to do so. Unsurprisingly, millennials are leading the way: apps and blogs are sharpening their understanding of the issue, and changing how ‘healthy eating’ is defined. As a result, the focus is moving away from ‘low fat’ towards ‘low carb’, and adapting to specific trends like superfoods and ‘clean eating’. None of this comes as any great surprise, but the increased focus on healthy eating means operators in the foodservice space cannot ignore the trend, and operators are responding in different ways.

Our research shows that people do not necessarily want to eat healthily all the time but generally balance healthy eating with more indulgent choices. Healthy options are more important to people during the week, and at lunchtime and breakfast in particular, as these are seen as everyday eating occasions as opposed to meals at weekends which can be more occasion-led.

Some operators are building whole brands focused specially on this more healthy-oriented weekday lunch market. Leon, for example, has a ‘healthy fast food’ menu including salads and wraps made fresh daily, and there are a number of healthy food focused food-to-go concepts emerging including Abokado, Chop’d, Tossed, Pure, Pod and Crussh.

Operators with traditionally more indulgent cuisines are also responding to these trends. Pizza Express has been offering its Leggera pizza range since 2009 and has supplemented it with options like superfood salads, and Zizzi has introduced ‘skinny’ pizza options. Byron Burger offers a ‘bunless burger’, and Jamie’s Italian makes a point of ensuring that healthy options make up at least 30% of each section of the menu.

Of course, offering ‘minority’ menu items is nothing new - restaurants have been providing vegetarian dishes for decades - but with 47% of consumers now considering it important that a restaurant offers healthier alternatives, these options are moving onto the main menu.

How will you respond to the latest healthy eating trend? Share your thoughts below or schedule a meeting to discuss your situation in confidence.

Lisa Hooker |  Partner, Retail Transaction Services
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Eleanor Scott |  Director, Strategy
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