Beth Hooper, nutrition manager at Nestlé Professional, explains why for pubs, better menus can mean better business.
For the pub industry, that means it’s time to dispel the myths about healthy food.
For a long time, many pubs have put healthy menu options on the back burner, believing ‘better’ foods to be expensive, lacking taste, or simply that the demand from diners isn’t there.
The reality, however, is quite different. New research suggests that better food can mean better business.
Today’s diners want fresher menus, more choice, and clearer labelling.
In fact, new research suggests that 56 per cent of casual diners would be more willing to go to a restaurant offering healthy menu options, 37 per cent would like to see clearer calorie labelling on menus and over two thirds (69 per cent) would like to see ‘fresh’ dishes and ‘healthy’ offerings on menus.
The research by One Poll in collaboration with Nestlé Professional to mark the launch of a new ‘BuzzBites Good Food, Good Life’ report (available here), also challenges misconceptions about ‘healthy’ food lacking taste, with half of diners finding healthier menu options to be just as tasty and appealing as other options.
Another common myth is that healthy food is expensive, but a new study from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) paints a different picture.
Comparing the prices of 78 common food and drink products, it found that healthier options such as fruit and vegetables are mostly cheaper than less healthy alternatives, when measured by edible weight rather than cost-per-calorie.
For the pub industry, there are some easy ways to get healthy dishes onto menus:
- Using local, seasonal ingredients can not only help chefs create fresher, tastier dishes, but can also be cost-effective.
- Whilst some processed foods can be part of a healthy diet, swapping heavily processed meats such as sausages with freshly prepared options like meatballs that are made on-site with hidden vegetables, offers diners a healthier choice.
- Vegetables are important too. Consider putting a daily vegetarian special on the menu and experiment with creative ideas.
- Don’t forget to give diners the opportunity to make healthier choices. For example, offer the choice of sweet potato wedges or baby new potatoes instead of fries, or wholegrain bread instead of white.
At the end of the day, at Nestlé Professional we are convinced that better health means better business, and working together, we can all help to build a healthier nation.