Local, sustainable food not diners' priorities: Study

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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CHICAGO — Just over half (57 percent) of recent survey respondents are willing to pay more for local and sustainable fare, according to a recent Mintel study. However, most of those are only willing to pay from 1 percent to 5 percent more.

“Green and sustainable attributes pale in comparison to the leading restaurant decision drivers of menu selection, prices and convenient location,” said Eric Giandelone, Mintel foodservice director. “However, these initiatives support the leading attributes to help a restaurant stand apart and will become more important as the green movement continues to progress.”

Mintel says that when deciding where to eat, 74 percent of survey respondents based their decision on menu selection followed by pricing and convenient location at 69 percent and 67 percent, respectively. Local/organic ingredients and sustainable ingredients lagged severely behind with only 7 percent of people saying that drove them to a restaurant.

Regarding corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, patrons place the greatest importance on living wages. Mintel respondents rated living wages, local ingredients and company-provided medical insurance as their top three CSR initiatives.

“Employee treatment is considered a leading CSR initiative in the restaurant industry,” Giandelone added. “Despite the fact those aged 18-24 are generally more in tune with green and sustainable initiatives, living wages rank as more important for older consumers.”

According to Mintel, the West is the greenest. It has traditionally been a hotbed for healthier lifestyles and related culinary trends. Local or organic ingredients are particularly of interest to those living in Western states (11 percent versus 7 percent of the Northwest and only 4 percent of the Midwest).
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