CHICAGO — Although health and wellness may be top-of-mind trends in consumer dining, a new study by Technomic finds there has not been a significant move away from fried foods.

Value, craveability and broad appeal, according to Technomic's new Future of Fried Foods Study drive billions of fried-food servings ordered each year by Americans. Top consumer associations with fried foods include: 89%, tasty; 86%, satisfying; 83%, filling; 80%, something craved; 77%, comforting; and 71%, good value.

More than half of the survey’s consumers describe themselves as "Fried Food Curtailers" or "Fried Food Avoiders." Over the next three years, the growth rate of fried foods will decline, but will not differ substantially from that of the food service industry as a whole, the survey predicts.

Other findings indicating fried foods will hold their own include:

  • Impulse is a major driver of fried-food sales. Twenty-one percent say their fried-food purchases at restaurants are usually made on impulse.
  • Thirty-two percent like to order fried foods at restaurants because they do not normally prepare them at home.

"We don’t foresee a large drop in fried-food sales because they are widely available and are frequently bundled with value meal purchases," says Bob Goldin, executive vice-president at Technomic. "Fried foods are offered at a reasonable price point that has strong appeal across multiple consumer groups. The crispy texture and craveable flavor is something that they cannot duplicate at home."