Top tips for catering to health conscious consumers
‘Healthier options’ are the number one thing customers want to see in contract catering sites in the next 2-3 years, with 40% of people wanting this.1 This also leads to the fact that 40% of consumers bring food from home to the workplace to make a healthier choice2, so you need to make sure that you have an offering that suits this need to stop potential consumers from choosing to have a packed lunch alternative.
Provide a balanced choice
34% of people avoid some outlets because they don’t offer enough healthy food.3 The main thing to note is that it isn’t about providing only healthy foods, but you need to have a balance. To demonstrate this, 85% of British shoppers say they aspire to improve their diet in some way,4 suggesting it’s more around just improving health than being totally healthy. Your range should therefore provide fresh ‘healthy’ options alongside ‘treat’ options to fuel this balanced diet.2
A solution to this could be to look for healthier swaps for your menus. Take a look at our ‘Better me’ guide here for some of the ways we can support you with doing this. It’s important that you try and add excitement to these healthier options which you can do by showcasing healthier dishes from different world cuisines or by labelling dishes with descriptors that will appeal to customers, such as “includes superfoods”, “low fat”, and “high in protein”.
Calorie labelling for restaurants and in the workplace is set to be a hot topic for 2019 with it likely to be made mandatory by Public Health England in the future. This is largely being driven by customer demand since 79% of people believe that menus should include the number of calories there are in food and drinks.5 The idea of introducing this is to allow customers to feel more confident in what they’re buying and more informed with their choice. However, it’s not only calories that customers are keen to regulate more of, they want tools to inform them on things like sugar, fat and protein so they get a fuller understanding on what they are actually eating and how it affects them.
Reduce portion sizes
There are two important things that reducing portion sizes does that can help you. First of all, reducing unnecessarily large portion sizes is a good way of keeping costs in check and helps reduce the amount of food waste you produce. Secondly, consumers are likely to eat more when they are offered bigger portions, so cutting back on portion size is an easy but effective way of helping people eat less without affecting taste. 1 in 5 people use the tactic of eating smaller portion sizes to improve their diet,4 so this is a good way to help them with doing this. It may make it more appealing if you offer smaller portion sizes at a cheaper price point so your customers aren’t left with the feeling that they’re losing any value for their money when trying to improve their diet.
The clever use of tableware is a good way of reducing portion size too. If you are using larger tableware it can lead to serving more and then over eating or wasting food by your consumers. If you are looking to replace these, then it may be worth considering smaller sizes.
January marks the start of “Veganuary” which is about encouraging people to try going vegan for the month. Veganism is a massively growing trend which has seen a 360% increase in the last decade of those who follow the diet.6 With a growing number of outlets and restaurants serving vegan items on their menu, there is no sign of it slowing. In fact, more than half (51%) of chefs have added vegan options to their menus this year up from 31% in 2017.7 To support you on this, we have created theme day materials for you to use. This includes posters to use to promote the day, recipes for your chefs, and empty belly posters for you to edit however you like. For more, click here. If you would also like to have digital assets to support you with promoting this on your social media, speak to your account manager.
We also have a vegan cookbook which is full of unique recipe ideas and we have a whole range of exciting vegan NPD available to you which can be found here.
These key factors are a great way to increase sales and retain consumers by providing healthy appealing options on the menu. However, your customers will receive further benefits from this too as not only does it help retain customers and it is a visible way of demonstrating that they care about their employees, but it also has a big cost implication too since a company employing 1,000 people could lose more than £126,000 a year in productivity due to obesity.8 According to the British Heart Foundation, employees who have a healthier lunch will be “healthier, happier, more productive and loyal, delivering better business outcomes”.9 For support with providing a healthier range, please get in touch with your account manager.
 MCA Contract catering report, 2017
 Daytime Diets and Meal Planning Research, ABA, 2018
 IGD – Eating well and Eating out, 2018
 IGD ShopperVista, 2018
 Public Health England, 2018
 Mintel – Attitudes towards leisure venue catering, 2017
 Foodable Labs, 2018
 National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence, 2012
 British Heart foundation, Health at work, 2016