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Consumer Demand Fueling Better Quality Ingredients And Better-For-You Food Choices Among Franchise Brands

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What’s in that taco you had for lunch? Was the lettuce grown locally? Is the beef grass-fed? Is the tortilla made with GMO corn?

Increasingly, these are the questions consumers want answered before they choose where they will spend their dining dollars.

A Zagat report released in September 2015 on fast-casual consumer preferences found that 19% of respondents said it was very important to them that fast casuals offer GMO-free food, with 35% saying it was somewhat important. In that same study, 14% said organic foods were very important, while 45% answered that they were at least somewhat important.

That is echoed by consumer behavior at the grocery store. Market research group, The Hartman Group, found that while shopping for food and beverages, 65% of those surveyed look for ingredients they recognize, and also look for food and beverages with the shortest list of ingredients.

With so much interest in food and health, restaurants are working hard to show their customers that eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Tropical Smoothie Cafe’s number one selling smoothie by far is the Island Green, featuring spinach, mango, kale, banana, and pineapple. And the menu features fresh, flavorful food options like flatbreads, sandwiches and salads. There’s even breakfast options.

Like Tropical Smoothie Cafe, many fast-casual restaurants are even changing their store layouts to feature an open kitchen so customers can watch their dish being prepared and see the ingredients going into the food. Besides amping up the atmosphere and adding a little kitchen theater to your daily lunch spot, it tells consumers that these restaurants have nothing to hide.

 

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