CHICAGO — Consumer demand and possible nutritional disclosure legislation are prompting more restaurants to introduce menu items with 550 calories or less, according to market researcher Technomic.
Some of the most recently introduced dishes include shrimp and tilapia provencal at La Madeleine for 460 calories; a half turkey club supermelt sandwich with garden salad for 420 calories at Friendly’s; a 6-oz filet mignon under 550 calories at Logan’s Roadhouse; the charbroiled guacamole turkey burger at 490 calories at Carl’s Jr.; new mini bakes for 400 calories at Fazoli’s; and a veggie burger with fresh fruit for 364 calories at Mimi’s Café. Additional items include a turkey jalapeno wrap at Z’ Tejas for under 550 calories, a build-your-own Cabana bowl for under 400 calories at Taco Cabana, and low-fat sundae dishes for under 300 calories at Caravel Ice Cream.
“If you can menu these lighter items in a way that does not make consumers feel as though they are sacrificing flavor or satisfaction, they will be more likely to order them,” said Darren Tristano, executive vice-president at Technomic. “You can tout them as savory and delicious as well as better for you rather than picking just one aspect over another.”