Eating out has become less of an occasional event and more of an everyday routine for many Americans, making it all the more necessary for nutrition information be available. There seems to be a push in America for more healthy eating, and a generally improved lifestyle. Research and consulting firm Technomic recently conducted a survey that examined current restaurant goer attitudes. But what did those numbers tell us?
The Numbers: What Did The Survey Reveal?
65% of American patrons would like to see enhanced nutrition labeling on restaurant menus, specifically in regards to total calories and sodium content.
Nearly 75% of surveyed consumers claim they care about chain restaurants disclosing caloric and additional nutritional facts on their menus.
68% of the people want nutritional information on all restaurant menus, not just large corporate chains.
About 70% believe this information would be extremely helpful in making ordering decisions and that it would have a positive impact on consumers’ health and nutritional choices.
Should The Government Take Action?
In a related study of New York City restaurant users’ opinions toward the recent ban on food service sales of large-serving sugary beverages, Technomic data revealed 51% support for the ban.
Consumers clearly want to be aware of what they are ordering when they eat at a restaurant; however, it is commonly recognized that without clear nutritional information it is difficult to calculate the total number of calories consumed in a day.
While only 38% want local and/or to play a more active role in regulating health and nutrition in restaurants, 58% expect the federal government to do so. Cue Michelle Obama.
What Does This Tell Us?
“The power over health resides with each of us as individuals–not with health professionals. We keep waiting for the next Nobel Prize to grant us vitality or longer life, while squandering the power we have to give ourselves those same gifts every day.” – David Katz of Yale University.
The people have clearly spoken – and they want to be healthier. The outcry for better nutritional information reporting is a step in the right direction. By having that information readily available, the average consumer will be able to make a more informed decision about his or her meal moving forward. This makes tracking calories and substance intake much more measurable. With copious nutritional information, means better health choices.
Could This Mean Healthier Fast Food Options?
Consumers are increasingly looking for healthy choices on menus, especially those that offer organic, local, free-range, whole grain, and similar options. I expect more and more fast-food companies to target healthy eating and lower calorie foods. Subway uses this as the cornerstone of its marketing campaign. Expect the other resturaunts to follow. Having to display nutritional information to spark a healthy eating arms race between the major outlets… literally competing to see who can get the healthiest menu. An interesting marketing plan, albeit a stretch, this could potentially revolutionize the industry. 2013 is shaping up to be a telling year.
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This article was written by Peter L, staff blogger and fitness guru with NCSF. Visit their site for more information regarding personal training certification, healthy eating, and general wellness.