Gluten-free options to increase in coming year

Schools plan to cut sodium to make menus healthier.

We asked operators what changes they plan to make to their menus in the next 12 months to make them healthier. The No. 1 answer—with 38% of operators—was offering gluten-free options, according to research by The Big Picture. The second most-cited answer was reducing sodium—at 34%—followed by offering more whole-grain options—at 33%.

While those three were the most cited tactics operators industrywide plan to use to make menus healthier, there were differences between the individual market segments when it comes to tackling menus.

Perhaps indicative of new federal regulations in the coming years, schools cited reducing sodium as its No. 1 way to make menus healthier, with 60% saying they plan to cut the salt in the next 12 months. At 60%, this was the most frequently cited healthy tactic among all market segments in the survey.  

Long-term care/senior living operators cited offering more whole-grain options as their No. 1 tactic to make menus healthier. In addition, 16% of these operators said they do not plan to make any changes to their menus options in the next year to make them healthier. 

Increasing gluten-free options was the most cited tactic to make menus healthier by colleges, B&I and hospital operators.