Calorie labelling won’t influence choice

CONSUMERS WANT to eat healthily when they eat out, but don’t see calorie labelling as something that would influence what they choose.

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  • New report also shows consumers targeting healthier fast food restaurants


The rollout of calorie labelling on menus is one of key commitments in the Government’s Public Health Responsibility Deal. However, according to a new report published by Allegra Strategies, consumers don’t see it as information they need to make healthy choices.


The ‘Eating Out in the UK 2012’ report found that less than a third of consumers (31%) would be influenced by a calorie count on a menu when eating out.


Ingredients, cooking techniques and descriptions are seen as more important information on a menu.


That doesn’t mean they didn’t consider healthy choices important. The majority of British adults prefer to either maintain a healthy lifestyle when eating out, or at least try to. Some 57% claim that this also influences their eating out behaviour.


While the fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and KFC continue to dominate, consumers are also responding to outlets offering healthier options. Allegra predicts that new and emerging fast food is expected to be the winning business model in the next three to five years in terms of growth with foodservice leaders and operators such as Leon, Chipotle and Pod showing signs of robust sales and expansion growth.


Consumer confidence remains fragile, with 45% of consumers stating they do not feel confident about their future income levels. This lack of confidence influences 62% to spend cautiously when eating out. Nevertheless, almost a third (30%) of consumers are still willing to pay more to eat at ethical restaurants. The vast majority of consumers are concerned with what they can do personally to help protect the environment and 47% state that the current economic climate has not changed their desire to eat out at sustainable establishments.


The report concluded that the eating out market is set for 3% turnover growth to reach £52 billion in 2012. This will see it outperform the rest of the foodservice market and the wider retail market.