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International consumer insights into the desires and barriers of diners in choosing healthy restaurant meals

By R.S. Newson, R. van der Maas, A. Beijersbergen, L. Carlson and C. Rosenbloom


AbstractOverweight and obesity are global public-health problems and unhealthy restaurant meals have been identified as one contributing factor. Given the increase in restaurant meals and the number of chefs and restaurants throughout the world, small changes in restaurant meals can have a large public health impact. However, to ensure that chefs and operators are able to provide changes that diners will accept and find appealing, an understanding of diners’ desire for healthier menus items and the barriers faced in choosing healthier meals is required. As such we conducted an international consumer study to identify these barriers and needs. A cohort of restaurant diners was recruited from ten countries: United Kingdom, United States of America, Germany, Poland, Turkey, Russia, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia and China (n=5000, aged 18–65years, 50% females). Participants completed a comprehensive web-based questionnaire on aspects related to healthy eating at restaurants. Globally only 18% of the sampled diners were strongly satisfied with current healthy options on restaurant menus. Among the diners there was a preference to have “slightly healthier” options. The top 3 small changes that these diners wanted to see included on restaurant menus to make them healthier included: steamed, baked or grilled instead of fried, fresh ingredients used, and served with plenty of vegetables. Taste, price and satiation were seen as key barriers to current healthy options. Diners had clear preferences for when they wanted to see healthy items on the menu in terms of time of day, time of the week and occasions. Country, age and gender had a large influence on preferences, while personal factors such as diet type, family status and food reactions had minimal influence. In the current study, diners were largely unsatisfied with current healthy options and clear barriers and triggers for healthier meals were identified. Nutritionists, dietitian, chefs and managers working for restaurants and other out of home food services can leverage these insights to provide healthier and appealing meals

Publisher: The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2015.02.016
OAI identifier:

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