CHICAGO ? Foods high in sugar content or fat have been ordered less frequently at restaurants during the past 10 years, according to foodservice market research by The NPD Group, a leading market research company.

NPD’s CREST service, which continually tracks consumer usage of commercial and non-commercial foodservice, also finds a decrease in consumption of regular carbonated soft drinks, hot dogs, fried chicken and French fries. Simultaneously, some foods that could be considered healthier (lower in sugar and fat) have been ordered more than in the past. CREST relays these foods include milk, grilled chicken and grilled chicken sandwiches, non-fried fish, breakfast cereals, fruit and yogurt.

“This shift in consumers choosing healthier foods at restaurants is partially due to the increasing availability of healthier foods on restaurant menus,” says Bonnie Riggs, restaurant industry analyst at The NPD Group. “Restaurant operators are responding to their customers’ needs for healthier or lighter foods.”

Consumer demand for healthy/light foods at restaurants will continue to grow over the next decade, according to NPD’s A Look into the Future of Foodservice report. Servings of healthy/light sandwiches, one of the food groups under the healthy/light category studied for the report, are projected to grow by 13% over the next 10 years. Included in the healthy/light sandwich group were grilled chicken and fish, turkey, cold cut combos, tuna and chicken salad and veggie sandwiches.