The National Restaurant Association recently released its 2013 annual report on food, nutrition and the restaurant industry.
Called “On the Menu: Restaurant Nutrition Initiatives,” the report can be downloaded for free here.
The report offers insight into nutrition trends and initiatives adopted by and affecting the restaurant industry, including children’s nutrition, menu labeling and food safety training.
“Nutrition and wellness are top priorities for the restaurant industry,” said Dawn Sweeney, the NRA’s president and CEO. “With consumers showing an increased interest in health and nutrition, particularly over the past several years, our industry continues to find ways to meet the growing demand for nutritious options. This report highlights the great work restaurants are doing to promote health and wellness, as well as the challenges and goals currently facing the industry.”
In 2011, the NRA created the Kids LiveWell program in collaboration with Healthy Dining as a way of showing the industry’s commitment to providing better choices for children when eating out in restaurants. A first-of-its-kind initiative designed to help make the healthful choice the easy choice, the Kids LiveWell program this year celebrated its second anniversary with 140 participating restaurant brands in more than 41,000 locations around the country.
The Association also led a large industry coalition to establish uniform nutrition information for U.S. consumers. The federal menu labeling standard will require restaurant chains with 20 or more locations operating under the same brand to provide detailed nutrition information to consumers on menus and menu boards.
According to the NRA’s 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast, 86 percent of adults say there are more healthy options at restaurants than there were two years ago and 71 percent of adults say they are trying to eat healthier now at restaurants than they did two years ago.
NRA research also shows that a third of all adults have gone online to get nutrition data on restaurant food and four of the top ten hottest menu trends in the Association’s What’s Hot in 2013 Chef Survey are nutrition related, including healthful kids’ meals and gluten-free cuisine.
In the area of food safety, the NRA continues to be a leading resource for the industry on training with its ServSafe program as well as its new ServSafe Allergens course, which helps restaurateurs serve the approximately 15 million Americans who suffer from food allergies.