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Consumers Want Both Healthful and Indulgent Meal Options

Foodservice operators have ample opportunities to build menu concepts around two competing consumer dining trends: healthfully delicious and luxuriously indulgent. These two concepts may have been rival concepts in the past but today, they both equally dominate consumers' food decisions while dining outside the home, according to data from a new Culinary Visions study entitled OxyModern: Cultural Contradictions Driving the Trends.

Eighty percent of the 2,000 consumers surveyed said they expect food at restaurants to be both healthy and delicious, per the OxyModern report. While they don’t want to diet, 56 percent of the consumers surveyed want to limit certain ingredients such as sugar, dairy or gluten in order to eat healthier while dining out.

This means that operators have an opportunity to build a repertoire of healthy foods where consumers gravitate on a regular basis. In fact, 30 percent of consumers surveyed feel restaurants have greater expertise to make healthier meals than they could make themselves at home, per Culinary Visions’ data.

Despite the desire to eat healthier, more than half of the survey respondents love restaurants with indulgent menu items. In fact, 64 percent of consumers were willing to splurge on foods on meals they feel are truly extraordinary, according to Culinary Visions. This means that if restaurants can really wow patrons, consumers will put aside health concerns for an indulgent meal.

Interestingly, consumers surveyed said they wouldn't trade taste for healthiness and 78 percent to enjoying large servings.