Foodservice Operators Face a Balancing Act
NTF-commissioned study reveals that flavor outweighs healthy options
WASHINGTON D.C., September 1, 2005 - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sherrie Rosenblatt, National Turkey Federation
202-898-0100 ext. 227, firstname.lastname@example.org
or Lisa Brackett, Devine & Pearson
617-472-2700 ext. 135 email@example.com
Everywhere you turn, the buzz is about healthy eating. Some foodservice operations have responded to Americans' concerns by increasing the healthy options on their menu. Others are trying to find the appropriate balance between flavor and healthy items. Earlier this year, the National Turkey Federation (NTF) conducted research that found that foodservice operators believe that although patrons are eating healthier, they still want choices and flavor when dining out
During a roundtable discussion it was determined that health is part of the landscape, but not the driving force in menu development. People are eating healthier but they still want choices and flavor when dining out. These eight operators felt that consumers dine out for an experience and healthy menu options are not their top concern. However, as the discussion unfolded, they all agreed that healthy menu options are necessary and have been added to some operators' menus. There seemed to be an initial negative reaction for an operator to say that health is important because they sometimes see it as a way to sacrifice flavor.
Although operators don't develop their menus around healthy items, most include turkey. According to an Internet survey, the majority (66%) of respondents include turkey products in their operations. When choosing turkey, almost all (94%) feel it is a healthy (94%) and versatile (89%) protein, followed by 68 percent that find it to be a good value and 65 percent that think it adapts well to many flavors.
"Turkey offers operators the opportunity to offer a healthy product on their menu and because it adapts well to many flavors they don't need to sacrifice taste," comments Sherrie Rosenblatt, NTF's senior director of marketing and communication. "Turkey is perfect for any foodservice operator's needs."
The Internet survey available to operators nationwide also provided results consistent with the roundtable discussion that operators need to find balance between healthy options and flavors for their customers. Results showed that most operators (91%) thought that less than half of consumers were looking for healthy menu Items. When asked about the USDA "My Pyramid" food guidelines released in April, 35 percent of operators surveyed had no reaction to them and did not think they impacted their business and 33 percent more have not even seen them. However, results showed over half reported an increase in healthier choice menu items on their menus versus a year ago. Thirty-eight percent of respondents predict that the number of healthier choice menu items will increase in the upcoming year.
These studies provided an overall summary of how operators feel about the trend toward healthy eating. The general consensus was that when dining out consumers want choice and flavor. In their minds, flavor comes first but it is also necessary to provide healthy items to patrons. Fortunately turkey can help operators out with this balancing act as it offers the choice and flavor consumers want as well as a healthy and nutritious meal making it a very versatile protein.
The National Turkey Federation (NTF) is the national advocate for all segments of the turkey industry, providing services and conducting activities that increase demand for its members' products by protecting and enhancing their ability to profitably provide wholesome, high-quality, nutritious products. Its award-winning web site, www.eatturkey.com, offers consumers, food professionals and the media an extensive library of information including healthy eating and restaurant trends, turkey cuts and purchasing tips, turkey nutrition and cooking techniques, and turkey facts and trivia. Additionally, the site presents a searchable database of more than 1,500 recipes, offers a recipe E-mail program and provides special seasonal and holiday ideas. The National Turkey Federation is headquartered in Washington, D.C.