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National Restaurant Association - Study: Consumers want healthful foods

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Study: Consumers want healthful foods

Consumers would eat more often at restaurants if offered more healthful menu options, a new study on dining-away-from-home trends has found.

According to HealthFocus International, a market research and analysis firm in St. Petersburg, Fla., 34 percent of respondents questioned said they preferred healthful menu items to other options and said they would go out of their way to dine at a restaurant that promotes health. Another 30 percent said they would eat more often at restaurants if they offered more healthful options.

However, when asked to determine whether restaurants are healthful versus unhealthful, 41 percent replied they did not know while 35 percent said they were unhealthful to very unhealthful, 24 percent categorized them as healthful and 3 percent said they were very healthful.

The study, which explored attitudes toward health and nutrition as they relate to eating outside the home, was conducted online in March 2012. Respondents were composed of 1,785 adults in the United States, who were required to visit a series of 13 chains at least once a month. Heavy-user participants were required to dine at those chains at least once a week. The chains visited included Applebee's, Chipotle Mexican Grill, McDonald's, KFC, Burger King, Boston Market, Cheesecake Factory, Outback Steakhouse, Panera Bread, Olive Garden, Subway, Pizza Hut and Starbucks Coffee.

HealthFocus will offer more in-depth results of its study during a Nov. 8 presentation.

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