A rise in the number of dieting diners has lead many restaurants to provide them with healthier options. And why wouldn’t they? In an industry where 3 in 4* adults are trying to eat healthier when eating out, and about 60%** of diners reporting that healthfulness affects where they dine, the “healthy menu option” is almost a crucial move depending on your target market. But how do you really put yourself out there and let these calorie counters know the good stuff you have to offer? Try the same place we go for most things in life these days – THE INTERNET.
There’s not much that we don’t do online these days, so it’s no wonder that in the $35 billion dollar diet industry a few innovative companies have built online solutions that help hungry people find healthy food.
If you’re looking for the nutrition facts for a particular menu item at a particular chain restaurant in a Google search it’s likely that you may find some results from DietFacts.com. This site lists nutrition facts for 506 restaurants as well as hundreds of store brand products in an alphabetical library listing.
Consumers looking for a little more dietary advice with their facts can go to healthydiningfinder.com. Here, you can type in your zip code to search from over 60,000 restaurant locations for healthy dining options in your area. The criteria for what constitutes a “healthy” option is set by registered dietitians who work with restaurant menus to establish healthy ordering options which are then displayed to the user.
Recently, Global Fitness Media, a company that is devoted to creating online solutions that allow people to live healthier lives launched Good Food Near You, a website and smart phone ap that allows users to search for nearby restaurants that offer menu items of desired calorie, fat, or carbohydrate levels. The user gets to decide what criteria they search and sort by, and what distance radius they would like to search for. Since their recent launch in February 2009 they have already attracted over 300,000 unique users.
These food-finders help serve a dual purpose: 1.) they allow health conscious consumers to find reasonable dining options in their areas that support their goals, and 2.) they can help restaurants with healthy options market to consumers who are looking for them.
* Recent Survey from New York City, source: Technomic
** National Restaurant Association’s 2009 Industry Forecast