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National Restaurant Association - Report: Diners seek local foods, nutrition at restaurants

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Report: Diners seek local foods, nutrition at restaurants

Consumer demand for locally sourced foods and better nutrition at restaurants is rising and restaurants are meeting that demand, the National Restaurant Association's 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast has found.

The new report noted that seven out of 10 consumers surveyed said they are more likely to visit a restaurant offering locally produced items and six out of 10 said inclusion of local foods on the menu is a key attribute when selecting a restaurant to dine out at.

Additionally, more than seven out of 10 consumers said they are trying to eat more healthfully at restaurants today than they did two years ago.

"Based on our trend data, consumers have an increasing interest in health and nutrition, and today's restaurant guests are paying more attention to nutrition when dining out," said of Joy Dubost, Ph.D., R.D., the NRA's director of food and healthy living. "To that point," she added, "restaurants are really stepping up to the plate when it comes to expanding their healthful menu options, and consumers are taking notice."

According to Forecast data, 86 percent of consumers polled said there are more healthful options on restaurant menus than there were two years ago.

Among women, 75 percent said they were trying to eat more healthfully when dining out, while 66 percent of men said they were attempting to do same. Similarly, 80 percent of women, versus 71 percent of men, said availability of healthful menu options was an important factor when choosing a restaurant to dine out in.

The data also concluded that consumers are expressing a heightened awareness and interest in kids' nutrition.

"Healthful kids' meals remain a top trend on both tableservice and quickservice menus," Dubost said. "More than nine out of 10 consumers said they enjoy going to restaurants, so it's a good idea to start early and educate children on good nutrition so they can make smart choices over their lifetime. This is what we're aiming to do with our Kids LiveWell program: make the healthful choice the easy choice for parents and their children when they dine out."

For more information about or to download the 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast, visit Restaurant.org/Forecast. It's free to NRA members.

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