UFS’ first World Menu Report focused on transparency around food when eating out-of-home. It revealed that consumers globally were calling for the provision of more information about their food when dining out. The second, ‘Seductive Nutrition’, revisited the important topics of health and nutrition, this time looking at what chefs and operators can do to meet the needs of guests who want to make healthier meal choices and become part of the solution to the bigger issue of tackling obesity. Respondents globally made it clear that they wish to eat more healthily when dining out. 66% of people said that they will seek the healthier option on a menu, even if they don’t end up choosing it. Next to this, 71% of guests agreed that when eating out they prefer to treat themselves. This highlights the struggle between intention and choice – essentially, what people want to eat more often than not wins over what they think they should eat.
It is clear from these figures that whilst people have good intentions around eating more healthily out-of-home, this does not always translate into action,
Further findings suggest a lack of consumer knowledge, a ‘Nutritional Knowledge Gap’ around some recommended nutritional allowances – at least 75% of respondents from each of the ten countries were unable to name the recommended daily allowance of fat.
This shows us how even though some people are aware of their daily nutritional intake in terms of fat, salt and sugar, ultimately, the healthier meal option on a menu is not always clear to them. From the report insights, we can assert that this issue is exacerbated by the fact that healthier options are frequently perceived as less appealing for three key reasons: 45% say they think the healthy dishes are smaller in size, 57% believe them to be more expensive and 43% perceive them as less tasty. This last point is where making the food sound as delicious as it tastes comes into play – healthier options must be provided but without appearing to be a poor second to the more indulgent alternative.
Overall, the report illustrates the need for food providers to make small changes to their menus to ensure guest satisfaction and, through this, drive more business.