Meeting the demand for better-for-you choices

chicken veggies portion control

From Tyson Food Service.

According to recent Datassential research and Tyson Focus Groups (2013-2014), more than 70 percent of consumers want a better-for-you option on the menu. But creating or altering menu items to meet this consumer need is easier than operators think: It all comes down to understanding what consumers are truly looking for when it comes to better-for-you food.

According to the 2015 Tyson Foods/Datassential Consumer Protein Claims Study, consumers stated the most important claims when it comes to restaurant chicken are:

  • 100 percent real meat
  • Fresh
  • Prepared how you like it
  • All Natural*

When purchasing items for back-of-house, look for products including the above key indicators. Position the better-for-you option with visual appeal when consumers receive the final product.

Portion control
One simple way to create a better-for-you menu item is by offering a smaller serving size, which is something consumers understand and often utilize in their everyday eating behaviors. Offer customers a 2.5-ounce chicken filet sandwich instead of a 4-ounce portion. It’s such a simple execution and allows operators to better plan for or even lower menu and operating costs.

Menuing all natural*
According to Datassential Online Surveys (April 2014, April 2013), all natural* is the most appealing and strongest motivator of purchase among better-for-you claims. Consumers are familiar with all natural* and can define it, unlike many other claims. Being able to call out the use of all natural* ingredients on the menu can be a great motivator for consumers that desire those better-for-you options.

Indicators for “fresh”
Consumers are looking for quality food items, which is driven by the need for products to be fresh. Operators can easily integrate small cues for fresh by adding premium ingredients to classic menu items. Adding a pretzel roll, premium cheese or signature low-fat spicy mayo to a chicken sandwich can elevate the offering and indicate that it’s fresh.

Meeting the demand for better-for-you choices with consumers doesn’t mean operators have to completely change their menus or sacrifice the flavor and taste of prepared-food items. Understanding that consumers are looking for 100 percent real meat, fresh, prepared how they like it and with an all natural* label helps determine the types of items to order and how to communicate those offerings.


*All Natural as defined by USDA is minimally processed, no artificial ingredients. No preservatives

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