Recently consumers have been placing a high importance on healthy selections when they go out to eat. People are looking to be more informed about the food that they are eating and they’re looking for a few key phrases on menus to justify their choices.
There was a recent study completed by food consultancy company, Technomic, where the number of consumers polled who stated that eating healthy and attention to nutritional qualities of what they eat rose from 57% in 2010 to 64% in 2013.
People have different opinions on the definition of “healthy”, however. Consumers are placing more importance on food that is labeled “natural,” “local,” “gluten-free,” “sustainable” and “organic.”
Of the key phrases that consumers seek out, “gluten-free” has been experiencing a massive popularity boost on restaurant menus. In the past, “gluten-free” has been associated with menu choices for those who suffer from celiac disease. Today, however, “gluten-free” is among the top three phrases that many consumers look for and it is one of the most used descriptor used by full service restaurants and dining establishments. There are now more than 1000 (increasing continuously) different gluten free dishes being served across the county.
“Organic” is another one of the most sought after menu descriptions. The term “organic” used to be an unconventional concept, but now it is much more mainstream and consumers are becoming savvy about organic food. There are many reasons for this increase in popularity, including the fact that organic food is free of pesticides, additives and excess chemicals. Many people also like the fact that organic farming protects the planet by helping reduce soil erosion problems and conserve and protect our water supply. In addition, it has been reported that regions with higher instances of organic farming tend to have much stronger local economies.
One recent consumer survey has found that 41% more parents are choosing to buy more organic food than they did one year ago and another study noted that more than half of the adults surveyed said that they would choose organic food over the non-organic counterpart.
As these terms and concepts become more prevalent in restaurant menus, consumers who are more health-conscious must carefully review their dining options and be sure to look beyond the buzzwords and look for restaurants who truly offer organic and gluten free dining.