With so many restaurants already incorporating nutritious options, a diverse menu with nutritious meals and responsibly sourced ingredients is becoming table stakes. Although many operators have created low-calorie offerings – often featured on a “lighter side” menu or a selection of 500-calorie-or-less meals – for their restaurants, this does not speak to the expansive definition of “health” which includes clean labels and recognizable ingredients as much as calorie counts.
Looking ahead, operators are aware that they must evolve to meet consumer demands. More than two-thirds of operators (67%) report that food and beverage items with “clean” labels and ingredients will be an important issue going forward and 64% say the same about transparency in food and beverage sourcing. Healthy eating will likely continue to evolve to include less processed foods, recognizable ingredients, short ingredient lists, and locally grown and processed food and beverages. The majority (89%) of operators agree that health and wellness will have a great or moderate influence on purchasing decisions in the future. The buy-in from operators means even more messaging around health and wellness for consumers to wade through as restaurants and other foodservice operators seeks to differentiate themselves.
It is important to remember, that although consumers are looking for clean and fresh products that boast “free from” attributes, such as antibiotic-free or GMO free, consumers are also looking for foods that come with positive attributes. Promoting sustainable products, energy-boosting ingredients, and fresh products is crucial to winning over customers and authentically offering better-for-you products.