Nearly half of consumers agree finding healthy items on restaurant menus is too difficult, and 68% of consumers think restaurants should call out healthy claims on menus, according to new research from Mintel, Chicago. Additionally, 64% of consumers believe healthy restaurant options are too expensive.

Still, 86% of consumers view dining out as an occasion to indulge, and 62% agree that taste is more important than nutrition when eating at a restaurant. Restaurants may offer healthy side dish substitutions as a way to satisfy consumers looking to balance indulgence with health, Mintel said.


Caleb Bryant, Mintel
Caleb Bryant, food service analyst at Mintel

“As Americans adopt a more holistic approach to their diets, they expect clarity from food service establishments, specifically by making healthy items easily identifiable and including more nutritional claims on menus,” said Caleb Bryant, food service analyst at Mintel. “At the same time, many consumers view dining out as a way to indulge. Restaurants should offer consumers a way to indulge and also incorporate nutrition by expanding menus to include more healthy sides, while also showcasing healthful preparation methods, such as grilled instead of fried foods. This provides options for whatever mood diners are in, whether they want to eat healthy, are looking to indulge, or possibly do both.”

Parents regard the healthy options for children as a top priority, with a 39% increase in ordering healthier food options for children over last year, and 66% of parents saying they would pay more for healthy menu options. Twenty-five per cent of parents say they allow children to eat unhealthy foods when dining out as an indulgence.