Healthy menu options increasing

by Staff
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CHICAGO — Restaurant menu items labeled as “healthy” increased 65% between the second quarter of 2009 and the second quarter of 2010.

“Restaurants should start considering how they’re going to make kids’ menus healthier,” said Eric Giandelone, director of food service research at Mintel. “It’s important to get feedback from both parents and kids to provide a healthy balance on the menu that kids will want to eat and parents will approve of.”

Mintel reported a 10% increase in menu items containing fruits and vegetables between the second quarter of 2007 and 2010 and a 12% increase in menu items labeled as vegetarian during that period. Mintel also found that among those trying to eat more healthfully when dining out, more than half of them are doing so by eating more fruits and vegetables.

“Healthy menu development opportunity exists in providing vegetable and seafood-based appetizers, soups, salads and entrees,” Mr. Giandelone said. “An added bonus in offering these ingredients is if prepared thoughtfully, they will naturally cut down on the fat and calories of a menu item, making it a more favorable choice for their patrons.”

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