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Healthy Dining Trends - US - May 2012

Healthy dining initiatives have come to a head as consumers are demanding greater transparency from restaurants in terms of ingredients, processes, and preparation. These desires have been driven in part by the economy, calorie disclosure laws, wellness initiatives by associations, rising obesity rates and other health problems, as well as a greater awareness and understanding of healthy eating on the part of consumers. Operators have responded with a slew of healthy offerings in terms of ingredients, preparations, portion sizing, and menuing to meet varying definitions of “healthy.”

Mintel’s exclusive research and analysis helps manufacturers, operators, and marketers pinpoint opportunities to meet healthy dining demands by exploring consumer preferences, perceptions, attitudes and behaviors as they relate to healthy dining at restaurants. To further understand current market trends, data from Mintel’s Menu Insights database and the marketplace are compiled and evaluated, giving clients a more complete picture of the competitive landscape.

This report details the latest trends and factors impacting healthy dining at restaurants, including:

  • Market drivers that inhibit and/or encourage healthy dining choices at restaurants
  • Current restaurant and industry trends that aim to meet the health needs of consumers
  • Development, promotion, and marketing of healthy dining initiatives among industry leaders
  • How consumers define “healthy” and what factors are most important in meal selection
  • Trends in nutritional, item, and preparation claims on adult and kids’ menus over time
  • The relation between BMI and body image perception and how perceptions dictate behavior

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Mintel Menu Insights
            • Consumer survey data
              • Advertising creative
                • Abbreviations and terms
                  • Abbreviations
                    • Terms
                    • Executive Summary

                        • The market
                          • Calorie disclosure legislation
                            • Obesity epidemic
                              • Restaurant sales are continuing to recover
                                • Figure 1: Adjusted foodservice and drinking places sales, January 2008-March 2012
                              • Nutritional descriptors on menus
                                • Figure 2: Top 10 ingredient nutritional claims, Q1 2009-Q1 2012
                              • Menu descriptors on kids’ menus
                                • Figure 3: Select nutritional claims on kids’ menus, Q1 2009-Q1 2012
                              • Positive ingredients and preparation criteria
                                • Figure 4: Ingredient and preparation criteria for healthy meals, February 2012
                              • Why consumers make unhealthy decisions
                                • Figure 5: Drivers for unhealthy meal selection, February 2012
                              • Body perception versus body mass index
                                • Figure 6: Body image perception, by BMI, February 2012
                              • What we think
                              • Insights and Opportunities

                                  • Portion and Pricing
                                    • Healthy extras: drinks and desserts
                                      • Juices
                                        • Smoothies
                                          • Frozen yogurt
                                            • Healthy technology
                                              • WebDiet
                                                • Touchscreen nutritional help
                                                  • Ingredients and processes
                                                    • Pink slime
                                                      • Animal treatment
                                                        • Antibiotics
                                                          • Beetle juice
                                                          • Inspire Insights

                                                              • Trend: Make It Mine
                                                                • Trend: Prove It!
                                                                • Market Drivers

                                                                    • Government intervention in healthy dining
                                                                      • Adult obesity and diabetes
                                                                        • Figure 7: Rate of adult obesity, by age, 2010
                                                                      • Childhood obesity is driving action
                                                                        • Restaurants sales are continuing to recover
                                                                          • Figure 8: Adjusted foodservice and drinking places sales, January 2008-March 2012
                                                                        • Unemployment improves while underemployment remains high
                                                                          • Figure 9: Unemployment and underemployment rates, January 2007-April 2012
                                                                        • Disposable personal income inches up compared to last year
                                                                          • Figure 10: Real disposable personal income, January 2007-March 2012
                                                                        • Organic items are more costly
                                                                          • Consumers cautiously optimistic
                                                                            • Figure 11: Consumer Sentiment Index, March 2007- April 2012
                                                                          • Alternative diets drive market towards innovation
                                                                          • Marketing Strategies

                                                                              • Television ads
                                                                                • Subway
                                                                                    • Figure 12: Subway television ad, January 2012
                                                                                    • Figure 13: Subway television ad, December 2011
                                                                                  • McDonald’s
                                                                                      • Figure 14: McDonald’s television ad, March 2012
                                                                                    • Applebee’s
                                                                                        • Figure 15: Applebee’s television ad, January 2012
                                                                                      • Caribou Coffee
                                                                                          • Figure 16: Caribou Coffee television ad, January 2012
                                                                                        • Denny’s
                                                                                          • Figure 17: Denny’s television ad, January 2012
                                                                                        • Social media
                                                                                          • Burger King
                                                                                            • Figure 18: Burger King Twitter Feed, April 2012
                                                                                          • Starbucks
                                                                                            • Figure 19: Starbucks Facebook page, April 2012
                                                                                          • Chipotle
                                                                                            • Figure 20: Chipotle YouTube video series, April 2012
                                                                                          • Websites
                                                                                            • Figure 21: Eatingwell.com monthly visitors, April 2009-April 2012
                                                                                          • Domino’s
                                                                                              • Figure 22: Domino’s Pizza website, nutrition information, April 2012
                                                                                            • Au Bon Pain
                                                                                              • Figure 23: Au Bon Pain website, nutrition information, April 2012
                                                                                            • Print media
                                                                                              • Wendy’s
                                                                                                • Figure 24: Wendy’s beef advertisement, March 2012
                                                                                            • Menu Insights Analysis: Item and Nutritional Claims

                                                                                              • Overview
                                                                                                • Menu development
                                                                                                  • Item claims
                                                                                                    • Indulgent items reign supreme
                                                                                                      • Better-for-you options stand strong
                                                                                                        • Figure 25: Top 10 menu item claims, by incidence, Q1 2009-Q1 2012
                                                                                                      • Nutritional claims
                                                                                                        • Negative descriptors decline
                                                                                                          • Figure 26: Top 10 ingredient nutritional claims, by incidence, Q1 2009-Q1 2012
                                                                                                        • Healthy items are priced higher
                                                                                                          • Figure 27: Top 10 ingredient nutritional claims, by incidence and price, Q1 2009-Q1 2012
                                                                                                      • Menu Insights Analysis—Item Preparation

                                                                                                        • Overview
                                                                                                          • Grilled versus fried
                                                                                                            • Figure 28: Top 10 cooking preparations, by incidence, Q1 2009-Q1 2012
                                                                                                          • Disguising indulgence
                                                                                                          • Menu Insights Analysis—Kids’ Menus

                                                                                                            • Overview
                                                                                                              • Use nutritional descriptors for parents
                                                                                                                • Figure 29: Nutritional claims on kids’ menus, by incidence, Q1 2009-Q1 2012
                                                                                                              • Special ways to make healthy foods special
                                                                                                              • Restaurant Usage

                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                  • Restaurants usage varies based on operator type
                                                                                                                    • Figure 30: Restaurant usage, by gender, February 2012
                                                                                                                  • Men visit restaurants more often than women
                                                                                                                    • Figure 31: Restaurant usage, by gender, February 2012
                                                                                                                  • The 25-34 year olds dominate frequency for most restaurant types
                                                                                                                    • Figure 32: Restaurant usage, by age, February 2012
                                                                                                                  • Asian demographic drawn to fast-casual concepts
                                                                                                                    • Figure 33: Restaurant usage, by race/Hispanic origin, February 2012
                                                                                                                  • The $75K-99.9K household income group visits restaurants the most
                                                                                                                    • Figure 34: Restaurant usage, by household income, February 2012
                                                                                                                • Changes in Consumer Behavior

                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                    • Consumption patterns compared to last year
                                                                                                                      • Differences among gender
                                                                                                                          • Figure 35: Restaurant usage behavior change, by gender, February 2012
                                                                                                                          • Figure 36: Changes in restaurant ordering behavior, by gender, February 2012
                                                                                                                        • Younger consumers are returning; older consumers are cutting back
                                                                                                                            • Figure 37: Restaurant usage behavior change, by age, February 2012
                                                                                                                            • Figure 38: Changes in restaurant ordering behavior, by age, February 2012
                                                                                                                          • Affluent consumers maintain usage; low-income groups cut back
                                                                                                                              • Figure 39: Restaurant usage behavior change, by household income, February 2012
                                                                                                                              • Figure 40: Changes in restaurant ordering behavior, by household income, February 2012
                                                                                                                          • Attitudes toward Menu Descriptors

                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                              • Healthy meal defined
                                                                                                                                • Fat content is important to women, while cholesterol levels interest men
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Nutrition criteria for healthy meals, by gender, February 2012
                                                                                                                                • Healthy meal attributes vary in importance by age
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 42: Nutrition criteria for healthy meals, by age, February 2012
                                                                                                                                • Interest in low-fat items increases with income
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 43: Nutrition criteria for healthy meals, by household income, February 2012
                                                                                                                              • Calorie Perceptions

                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                  • Low-calorie entrées should contain less than 474 calories
                                                                                                                                    • Men lead women in calorie expectations by 50 calories
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 44: Calorie perceptions for healthy meals, by gender, February 2012
                                                                                                                                    • Perception of healthy calorie intake increases with age
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 45: Calorie perceptions for healthy meals, by age, February 2012
                                                                                                                                    • Perception of healthy calorie intake increases with income
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 46: Calorie perceptions for healthy meals, by household income, February 2012
                                                                                                                                    • Perception of healthy calorie intake spans 120 calories among races
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 47: Calorie perceptions for healthy meals, by race/Hispanic origin, February 2012
                                                                                                                                  • Attitudes toward Ingredients and Preparations

                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                      • Wellness attributes of menu descriptors
                                                                                                                                        • Women more likely to consider ingredients and their prep
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 48: Ingredient and preparation criteria for healthy meals by gender, February 2012
                                                                                                                                        • Interest in grilled/baked increases with age; organic decreases
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 49: Ingredient and preparation criteria for healthy meals, by age, February 2012
                                                                                                                                      • Why Consumers Make Unhealthy Choices

                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                          • Consumers order cravable indulgences
                                                                                                                                            • Men look for large helpings and women want indulgences
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 50: Drivers for unhealthy meal selection, by gender, February 2012
                                                                                                                                              • Younger consumers concerned about health but find portions too small
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 51: Drivers for unhealthy meal selection, by age, February 2012
                                                                                                                                              • Attitudes toward Healthy Dining

                                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                                  • Healthy disconnect remains between intention and behavior
                                                                                                                                                    • Healthy disconnect remains between intention and behavior
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 52: Consumer attitudes towards healthy dining, by gender, February 2012
                                                                                                                                                    • Affluent consumers more likely to eat healthfully on a seasonal basis
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 53: Consumer attitudes towards healthy dining, by household income, February 2012
                                                                                                                                                  • Consumer BMI and Body Image

                                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                                      • The reality of body perception
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 54: Body image perception, by BMI, February 2012
                                                                                                                                                        • Extremely obese consumers visit fast food restaurants frequently
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 55: Restaurant usage, by BMI, February 2012
                                                                                                                                                        • Willpower and portion control diminish with growth in BMI
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 56: Calorie perceptions for healthy meals, by BMI, February 2012
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 57: Consumer attitudes towards healthy dining, by BMI, February 2012
                                                                                                                                                          • Consumers with lower BMI have more sophisticated health standards
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 58: Nutrition criteria for healthy meals, by BMI, February 2012
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 59: Ingredient and preparation criteria for healthy meals, by BMI, February 2012
                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix—Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                            Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                            • Applebee's International Inc.
                                                                                                                                                            • Bob Evans Farms Inc.
                                                                                                                                                            • Burger King Corporation
                                                                                                                                                            • Caribou Coffee Company Inc.
                                                                                                                                                            • Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.
                                                                                                                                                            • Domino's Pizza LLB
                                                                                                                                                            • Dunkin' Brands
                                                                                                                                                            • Starbucks Corporation
                                                                                                                                                            • Taco Bell Corp.
                                                                                                                                                            • The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated
                                                                                                                                                            • The Wendy's Company
                                                                                                                                                            • Weight Watchers International Inc.

                                                                                                                                                            Healthy Dining Trends - US - May 2012

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