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Lower-Calorie Options a “Business Imperative”

Panera BreadA new study re-affirms what those of us who follow food tech trends already know.

Consumers are demanding healthier, lower-calorie options, and the fast food and dine-in chains that are working to satisfy the demand are faring better than those that aren’t. The study, released today by the Hudson Institute, looks at 21 chains between 2006 and 2011, finding that restaurants that increased low-calorie orders enjoyed a 5.5% average increase in same-store sales. Conversely, the chains that did not suffered a 5.5% decrease in sales.

Hopefully the study will ease the reluctance that major chains are feeling given the mounting nation-wide pressure to post calorie information in stores. We know this is not always the most forward looking industry, but even the most indolent fat-cat would react to this pattern – the number of low-calorie food and beverage servings sold increased 2.5% while higher-calorie servings fell 4.2% over the 5 years period of the study.

Take for example one of Casual Munch’s favorite success stories, Panera. After the company posted calorie counts on its menus way back in 2013, the company saw 20% of customers start to order the lower-calorie items. We are not Nostradamus, but you don’t have to be to predict that percentage will only go up.

Photo via Panera Bread

  • healthy eatr

    panera is taking over america, one healthy salad at a time.