According to a national survey of away-from-home eating habits and nutritional preferences conducted by ARAMARK, a growing number of American adults expect restaurants to offer healthy menu items, yet they are increasingly dissatisfied with the healthy options currently available in most restaurants. In 2006, 34 percent of adults indicated it is important for restaurants to offer health-conscious menu items, up from just 28 percent in 2005. However, only 14 percent indicate they are very satisfied with the healthy options offered by restaurants, down from 22 percent a year ago.
These statistics are part of the ARAMARK (NYSE:RMK) Nutritional DiningStyles(TM) Research being presented to clinical researchers and health professionals at the 2006 NAASO Obesity Summit in Boston October 22-24.
'Our Nutritional DiningStyles research helps us track the eating habits of consumers and tailor our menus and nutritional programs to meet their needs,' said Chris Malone, ARAMARK senior vice president of marketing. 'We share this information each year with leaders in the fight against obesity as part of our commitment to the health and wellness of Americans.'
In planning this year's Nutritional DiningStyles study, professional services provider ARAMARK partnered with several prominent obesity and nutrition researchers to design and analyze its survey of more than 200 nutrition and dining related measures.
'ARAMARK's research provides a framework for understanding consumer nutrition behavior and away-from-home eating that we do not always get from clinical research alone,' said Holly Wyatt, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and National Program Director for the Centers for Obesity Research and Education (C.O.R.E.) 'The study utilizes self-reported eating habits and attitudes to segment the adult population into unique behavioral groups and capture trends over time.'
Other findings from this year's DiningStyles Research included:
34 percent indicate they are strongly attempting to watch their weight, up from 29 percent in 2005
Those strongly attempting to limit their intake of trans fats increased to 27 percent, up from 21 percent in 2005;
Consumer satisfaction with healthy items away-from-home slipped dramatically in 2006, most significantly among Fine Dining, Family Style and Casual Dining restaurant formats. Casual Dining presented the biggest drop, from 34 percent in 2005 to 16 percent in 2006.
While 71 percent say consumers are ultimately responsible for making sensible food choices away-from-home, 46 percent feel strongly that restaurants should provide nutritional information on all of the menu items they serve;
The most appealing incentive for losing weight is a cash rebate on medical insurance.
This is the third year ARAMARK has conducted the Nutritional DiningStyles Research, and the third time the findings have been included in the NAASO Obesity Summit curriculum. Attended by nearly 2,000 clinical researchers and health professionals each year, the Obesity Summit promotes the latest findings in research, education and advocacy to better understand and treat obesity and to improve the lives of those affected by it.
The Nutritional DiningStyles Calculator (www.diningstyle.com) is an online guide that allows consumers to learn their own Nutritional DiningStyle by answering questions and providing tailored nutritional education and guidance.
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