As America ramps up its fight against bulging waist lines, restaurant chains are providing ammunition in the form of great-tasting menu items with 550 or fewer calories. The trend not only caters to increasing consumer demand for such items, but also helps restaurants prepare for the implementation of pending legislation that will require any brand operating twenty or more units to display nutritional information for all permanent menu items.
Technomic EVP Darren Tristano says restaurants have become more adept at positioning these menu items to consumers. “If you can menu these lighter items in a way that does not make consumers feel as though they are sacrificing flavor or satisfaction, they will be more likely to order them. You can tout them as savory and delicious, as well as better for you, rather than picking just one aspect over another.”
New menu items that contain less than 550 calories include:
- La Madeleine – Shrimp and Tilapia Provençal – 460 calories
- Friendly’s – Half Turkey Club SuperMelt Sandwich and Garden Salad – 420 calories
- Logan’s Roadhouse – 6 oz Filet Mignon under 550 calories
- Carvel Ice Cream – Low Fat Sundae Dishes under 300 Calories
- Mimi’s Café – Veggie Burger with Fresh Fruit – 364 calories
- Taco Cabana – Build-Your-Own Cabana Bowl. Four under 400 Calories
- Fazoli’s – New Mini Bakes – 400 Calories
- Carl’s Jr. – Charbroiled Guacamole Turkey Burger – 490 Calories
- Z’Tejas –Turkey Jalapeño Wrap – Under 550 Calories
The growth in low calorie items was spotted using Technomic’s exclusive MenuMonitor, a searchable online trend tracking tool that analyzes more than 1,200 top chain, emerging concept and leading independent restaurant menus around the world. Restaurant operators, suppliers and other subscribers can conduct customized searches for ingredients, preparation methods, and brand usage, and also receive monthly reports on limited time offers. MenuMonitor tracks menus in the U.S., as well as Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Germany, and France.
All MenuMonitor subscriptions also include complimentary SmartSupport, Technomic’s team of expert users who find facts, deliver custom presentations, and provide data quickly and efficiently to help subscribers get the most from their online services.