US restaurants creating healthier alternatives

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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CHICAGO – An increasing number of US restaurants are able to meet dieting consumers’ desires for healthier eating because they have created dishes that are low in fat, calories and sugar. During the past year, incorporating the word healthy within menu descriptions has increased by 86 percent, according to Chicago-based Technomic.

"Dieting consumers don't always view restaurants as a safe place to eat, either because they don't recognize diet-compatible options, or are too tempted to indulge themselves when eating out," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president. "However, the number of healthful dishes offered at restaurants continues to grow, and operators are increasingly interested in touting healthy benefits on their menus."

During the past year, the number of times low-fat was used to describe menu items has increased by 33 percent, while use of fat-free and/or non-fat have increased by 12 percent. The no sugar descriptor has increased by 51 percent, year over year. Low-calorie is on 154 percent more menus than in 2010, although used much less often than other healthful adjectives.

Starbucks' new Reduced Fat Turkey Bacon & White Cheddar breakfast sandwich and Romano's Macaroni Grill "Lite" menu additions, such as Chicken Spiedini and Pollo Caprese, are just several of the new, better-for-you items added to menus.

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