Consumers Say One Thing, Eat Something Different
It certainly won’t come as a surprise to anyone connected to the food industry that what consumers say they want and what they actually buy are usually very different.
The latest evidence to this effect is a study by Mintel Menu Insights, which found that 80 percent of consumers say it is important to them to eat healthy, yet the reality of what they eat when they go a restaurant is quite different. Only 51 percent of consumers actually order healthy items off of restaurant menus.
"Most people are really looking for taste, texture and experience," Maria Caranfa, director at Mintel Menu Insights, said in a press release.
Price is also a factor in the decision not to buy foods that might be better for a restaurant patron’s health. Fifty-four percent told Mintel that eating healthy menu items meant higher prices.
Even though consumers may be buying fried foods instead of healthier alternatives, they still want more information on the nutritional value of items on menus.
"Restaurants need to make ‘healthy’ food appeal on flavor, freshness and satiety benefits, not just on calorie and fat information," said Ms. Caranfa. "People seek fresh ingredients and more vegetables in healthy food, both of which can be promoted in a positive way. Healthy dining should be as satisfying as ordering from the regular menu."
Discussion Questions: What is behind the disconnect with what people say they want to eat and what they actually do when going out to a restaurant or shopping in a grocery store? Should companies be stepping away from healthy foods or pushing ahead even if actual purchasing patterns don’t exactly match up with consumers’ nutritional aspirations?
- On restaurant menu, light items struggle against heavyweight norms – Mintel Menu Insights
- Consumers Say They Want Healthy, but Aren’t Buying It – AdAge.com