Busting the myths about healthy food

28/04/2017 - 14:15
No one can deny that when eating out, diners often look for something more special than they would cook at home, with 8 in 10 choosing dishes that are described as a ‘treat'. But, for pubs and restaurants, the trend for a treat shouldn’t mean putting healthy dishes on the backburner.

Beth Hooper, nutrition manager at Nestlé Professional, takes a deeper look at healthier food and explains why ‘better’ menus can mean better business for the out of home sector.

“There are plenty of misconceptions associated with healthy food that need to be challenged. Healthier menu options are sometimes seen as expensive or lacking in taste. However, new research conducted by One Poll in collaboration with Nestlé Professional suggests otherwise.

"Today’s diners want fresher menus, more choice and clearer labelling. In fact, 56% of casual diners surveyed would be more willing to go to a restaurant offering healthy menu options, and half (50%) find healthier menu options just as tasty and appealing as other items.

“Another common myth is that healthy food is expensive. This doesn’t have to be the case. A study from the IEA compared the prices of 78 common food and drink products, it found that healthier options such as fruit and vegetables are mostly cheaper than less healthy alternatives (when measured by edible weight rather than cost-per-calorie).

“These figures show a clear opportunity for operators. Lower calorie ingredients could be better for customers and for businesses. Thinking more creatively about healthy food could make a real difference – here are some simple ways to get healthier options onto menus:

Give vegetables and plant proteins the limelight: Consider putting a daily vegetarian special on the menu and experiment with creative ideas.

Champion choice: Don’t make fries the obvious choice. Make the healthier option the standard, or give a selection of alternative sides such as sweet potato wedges and offer wholegrain bread instead of white.

A full plate: Don’t forget that customers want to leave feeling satisfied. Shifting to healthier, and cheaper, ingredients, while maintaining a full plate is a great way to do this.

The research is taken from the ‘BuzzBites ‘Good Food, Good Life’ report, which offers tips and advice to businesses looking to make their menus healthier. To download your copy, click here.

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