Sydney, Australia, December 19, 2016 – Seven percent of visitors to the Australian foodservice industry list “healthy choices” as one of their reasons for visiting an outlet; however, “healthy choices” is still not a core motivator. In fact, healthy choice as a motivation for visits is down this year and also lower compared to six years ago, according to global information company The NPD Group’s CREST® foodservice market research, which continually tracks consumer use of foodservice outlets.
Across all foodservice channels, only three categories are notably over-indexed as a healthy choice relative to the total foodservice industry: QSR Sandwich/Salad/Juice, QSR Asian, and QSR Other Ethnic, respectively. Looking at demographics, 25-49 year-olds represent more than 4 out of every 10 foodservice visits motivated by healthy choices, and younger millennials (aged 18-24) are more likely than average to be motivated by such choices when eating out.
“An increasing number of consumers are replacing home cooking with commercially prepared meals and on top of that, the healthy choices space is still underdeveloped in the vast majority of Australian foodservice categories. This presents an opportunity for operators to adapt their offerings in a space where there’s currently less competition for market share,” said Ciara Clancy, Director, Australia Foodservice, The NPD Group.
The most popular items purchased at occasions motivated by healthy choices are not necessarily associated with a healthy diet. This suggests that consumers may be brought in on account of a healthy product, but this does not define their entire meal.
“Shifting consumers’ product perception towards ‘healthy indulgence’ and higher permissibility will likely boost consumer preference for healthier choices. Achieving this can be driven by focusing on and marketing food preparation methods, product freshness, ingredients sourcing and providing flexibility for dietary preferences,” said Clancy.