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Consumers Care About Calories

When it comes to making healthy choices, consumers have more information than ever before with nutrition facts being added to menus across North America. For many the facts have been eye-opening, especially when comparing a light salad with a hearty burger! The results are not always what consumers had assumed.

With this new information, are consumers making different choices? Are nutrition facts enough to drive consumers to visit alternate restaurants? What about when it comes to ordering for their kids?

Contract Testing recently conducted an extensive survey on how consumers respond to these limited-time menu items with over 1,500 participants from across North America.

Here are some of the interesting findings and insights from this survey:

Calories DO count… sometimes: Close to 70% of Canadians pay attention to the calorie labelling on menus, while the remaining 30% either don’t pay attention to the calorie count or only look at it occasionally. Calorie counts are more important to Americans with 75% of them examining the data when placing their order.

Calories can sway decisions: Information is power when it comes to placing orders and when given calorie count information, consumers are changing their minds. More than 50% of Canadians have changed their usual order based on calorie count information while Americans are more likely to change their minds with more than 60% changing their usual order.

Calorie count doesn’t equal a visit: While consumers pay attention to calories, just 40% of Canadians and 50% of Americans would visit a specific restaurant based on their calorie count.

Calorie counts don’t lie: According to consumers, more than 80% of North Americans are surprised by the calories count in certain items and as a result, more than 60% are customizing their order.

Kids can make choices: While consumers are keeping calorie counts in mind when placing orders for themselves, they are not doing the same for their children. Just 30% of Americans and 40% of Canadians consider calorie counts when ordering for their children at restaurants.

There is no doubt that consumers are paying attention to calorie counts, but in many cases, it is not impacting the restaurants that they’re visiting. Instead, there has been an increase in order customization, an easy way to shave a few calories off a favourite order. While North Americans are conscious as a whole, Americans are paying closer attention to the stats.

For questions about this research, or how you can leverage consumer taste buds in your business, contact Andrew Scholes at andrew.scholes@contracttesting.com.