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National Restaurant Association - Parents more aware of kids’ nutrition away from home, studies find

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Parents more aware of kids’ nutrition away from home, studies find

Parents are savvier and more aware of what their children are eating away from home, new research has found.

According to a global study conducted by HealthFocus International, a St. Petersburg, Fla.-based marketing consultant, 63 percent of consumers with kids said they're aware of everything their children eat away from home, compared with 58 percent of parents polled in 2010 and 49 percent questioned in 2008.

In addition, the firm's study on Eating Away From Home found that parents said restaurants offering healthful options for themselves and their kids often drove their choices when deciding where to dine out. Besides their increased desire for more healthful options, other considerations included:

• food likeability
• reasonable prices
• convenient location
• good atmosphere for kids
• fast service
• whether it had a children's menu, and
• how many families populated the establishment

"We've certainly seen a rise in consumers' perceived knowledge of health and nutrition, particularly when it comes to what they and their children eat away from home," said Jim Kane, HealthFocus' vice president of client services. "This is related to a number of factors, including the availability of more nutrition information sources, an increase in people's interest in the topic, and the fact that restaurants and food manufacturers are working hard to make more information available to their customers. That, in and of itself is a big win because savvier customers are demonstrating that health and nutrition are becoming primary influencers in their decision making."

The Eating Away From Home study, which questioned nearly 1,800 U.S. adult consumers in an online poll, focused primarily on food and dining outside of the home. It was released to the public at the end of last year.

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