For hospitality and food retail businesses, customer demand, cost pressures, skills, knowledge and legal obligations all affect their view of healthier food options.
In a recent project for Nesta, we surveyed Out of Home (OoH) food outlets in Scotland and Wales, to hear their views on the provision of healthier options.
These OoH outlets were asked about the extent to which they felt a series of factors were important when customers were choosing what to order. While most said healthiness was an influential factor for customers, it was deemed the least important behind taste, appearance, portion size and price.
Overall, 54% felt that customers were unlikely to order a healthier option. This points to a perception of a lack of demand for these options, which became clearer in later questions around facilitators and barriers for implementing healthier interventions. This finding was consistent across OoH outlets who responded in Scotland (55% unlikely and 40% likely) and Wales (52% unlikely and 37% likely).
Meanwhile, 44% of respondents said that they had made changes to product ingredients such as less fat, salt and sugar. Half (50%) of those who responded in Scotland said that they had introduced this, compared to 36% in Wales. Furthermore, around one in four said that they had introduced healthier children’s menus and increased the proportion of fruit and vegetables available or used within cooking.