Foodservice Brief -November 2010
A Place For Healthy/Light Foods On Your Menu
Legislators are pressing the foodservice industry to influence consumersâ behavior regarding their food and beverage selections at restaurants and schools. At the same time, weâve noted in recent CREST data that some consumers are moving toward more healthful eating.
Over the past 10 years, the data has shown some foods high in sugar content or fat have been ordered less frequently at restaurants. Examples include regular carbonated soft drinks, hot dogs, fried chicken, and French fries. Simultaneously, some foods that could be considered healthier (lower in sugar and fat) have been ordered more than they were in the past. These include milk, grilled chicken and grilled chicken sandwiches, non-fried fish, breakfast cereals, fruit, and yogurt.
So, even without legislation, behavior changes are occurring. In part, this reflects action by operators who have given consumers more options. Consumers have more opportunities to choose from menus with foods perceived to be “good for you,” if that’s what they want. Yet, the pressure from various groups, and especially Washington, continues to mount, with restaurants and regulation held up as ways to control obesity in this country.
As we begin to see some light at the end of this recession tunnel, operators may want to set plans to address the needs of tomorrow’s consumer. Menu planning can be part of that.
When describing reasons for visiting a particular restaurant, older consumers are most likely to mention the availability of healthy/light offerings in their selection process. Younger adults and teens may be described as being more health-conscious than middle-aged consumers ages 35 to 49.
The NPD Groupâs Future of Foodservice Report provides projection of demand for 83 concepts, situations, foods, and beverages through 2019. It includes projections for groupings of healthy/light foods. Healthy/light sandwiches were one of the product groups studied for the report. NPD forecasts that servings of healthy/light sandwiches will outpace the industryâs overall growth between now and 2019.
Projected Trend in Customer Traffic
2009 to 2019
|Commercial restaurant traffic||+8%|
|Healthy/light sandwich servings||+13%|
Source: The NPD Group/CREST®
Included in the healthy/light sandwich group studied were grilled chicken and fish, turkey, cold cut combos, tuna and chicken salad, and veggie sandwiches.
Understanding these trends can help operators lessen the need for legislation and government control by offering additional healthy/light menu options. This knowledge also may equip operators to share in the anticipated growth of healthy/light foods over the next decade.
Today, the heaviest buyers of healthy/light sandwiches are consumers ages 18 to 34. However, it is consumers 50 and older who will contribute the most incremental servings in the years ahead ö they are the most health-conscious consumer segment. New products added to menus should aim to address aging Baby Boomersâ interest in and need for health-conscious choices.
Source: The NPD Group/CREST®
On multiple fronts, attention is being given to healthy/light foods. More consumers seek them, others feel better when they are given a chance to choose, and still others donât care at all. Having these options available on menus covers the bases. If fresh, tasty, affordably priced menu options are developed to appeal to those who will drive demand, the NPD forecast suggests the outcome will be a win/win for consumer and operator.
To learn more about this report, contact your NPD representative or Bonnie Riggs at