After all the cooking and hosting during the holidays, exhausted home chefs look to have someone else do the cooking and after being a little gluttonous during holiday festivities, they strive to eat healthier as they visit restaurants. While this may spike up after the holidays with New Year’s resolutions, people are constantly looking for ways to incorporate healthier items such as vegetables into their meals. It is up to the business to put them front and center and not on the side.
This healthy trend is not exclusive to this time of the year. “In the NRA’s 2013 Industry Forecast, children’s nutrition, gluten-free food and health/nutrition were all identified as a top culinary trend for the year.” The healthy and sustainable food movements are here to stay as more people become mindful of their diets.
Restaurants are meeting that consumer demand with the “incidence of vegetables rising more than 11% the last few years due to high protein prices. They are showing up in unexpected places too – on pizza and in breakfast items.”
QSRs like Wendy’s and McDonald’s are joining in as well. Wendy’s signed on with the NRA Kids LiveWell program and the chain added two meal options — a grilled chicken wrap with sliced apples, and a kids’ meal hamburger with sliced apples. McDonald’s announced at the Clinton Global institute plans to serve more fruits and vegetables as kid menu side items.
The key aspect of adding healthier items and vegetables to your menu is creating delicious meals and not just attaching a side. Consumers want healthier options to incorporate into their diet, but they don’t want to give up taste and flavor to do so. While many restaurant goers are out to celebrate and not focus on health conscious decisions, people are more attentive of their health during business lunches and mid-week meals.
A great recipe for vegetable inclusion is this Brussels Sprouts Salad using Marzetti® Premium Blue Cheese Dressing. Now is the time to begin planning new healthy menu items to launch after the new year when consumers are more apt to try. Once they enjoy the new dish, they will come back for more throughout the year.