CHICAGO – Although Technomic’s newest study finds nearly half of consumers want healthier menu items, only about one-quarter of them actively consider nutrition when dining out.

"There is often a disconnect between consumers’ intentions and their actions," said Darren Tristano, Technomic executive vice president. "Many consumers are actually making substantial changes to their overall habits, even basing which restaurants they frequent in part based on their impressions of the healthfulness of the brands. However, as many of us know from personal experience, diners do not always follow through on their intentions once it is time to order."

Technomic developed the 2010 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report to help restaurants, manufacturers and suppliers stay on top of consumer attitudes and trends as they relate to healthy eating.

Some of the findings include:

  • Only 19% of consumers feel that food described as "healthy" on the menu does not taste as good as other options. Contrary to previously-held beliefs, it appears more consumers today feel that foods labeled as healthy can still be satisfying.
  • Consumers strongly disagree with the notion that the restaurant industry is responsible for America’s obesity epidemic, with only 16% placing blame solely on restaurants.
  • Consumers confirm their eating behavior differs significantly for at-home and away-from-home dining occasions. Two out of five consumers describe their at-home eating as "very healthy" while only about a quarter say the same about away-from home dining.