More Money Means More Options When Eating Out
LOS ANGELES, June 26, 2013
(Off The Menu)
– I love junk food. Whether it’s a double cheeseburger from a fast-food restaurant or a personal pan pizza from a casual Italian place, I love it for the reasons most people love it. It tastes good and, probably more importantly, it’s often cheap compared to the healthier items on the menu.
As I’ve gotten older, however, and my salary has risen as my career has advanced, I’ve been willing to spend a little more at restaurants buying items that lean toward the healthier side. Whether it’s lean chicken breast, vegetable medleys or shrimp stir-fry, I’m less hesitant to buy healthier items because, frankly, I can afford them now.
What I’m exhibiting is common behavior according to a recent report from research firm Placed Insights. The report found that those making more than $100,000 a year were most likely to rank healthy menu items as important when eating out, while those making less than $25,000 were the least likely to rank health as a big consideration.
When broken down by ethnicity, Asian-Americans were most likely to say health was an important factor, while Caucasians were the least likely to rank it as a key priority. Additionally, more women valued healthy choices than men, and older respondents valued healthy choices more than younger ones.
As a consumer who has been in the workforce for nearly 17 years and has seen his salary rise during that time (although not to the six-figure range just yet), this report rings true. During my starting-out days, I would often automatically look at the cheaper items at any restaurant I visited (which normally were the less healthier items) because those were the only ones I could really afford. But as my salary rose, I increasingly began looking at the other items on the menu, if for no other reason than they were now options I could consider.
Don’t get me wrong: Those with a higher salary will still buy their share of cheap, less healthy items. But they have the flexibility to try new things because they can afford a larger portion of the menu.
Nevin Barich is the Food & Beverage Analyst for IndustryIntel. During his career’s lean years, he stuck mainly to the cheap items when eating out. But now he can afford to look at the entire menu. He can be reached at email@example.com
Related News: this box contains exclusive content that is accessible only to Industry Intelligence subscribers. Click a link to learn more.
- Commentary: US restaurant sales grew in Q2 at slowest pace since December 2009, as customers find it's getting more expensive to eat out; many millennials are cutting back, meal-delivery services are expected to rack up more than US$10B/year sales by 2020
- Nearly twice as many US fast food chains have banned antibiotic-fed meats this year compared to last year, according to annual report, which gave 'passing grades' on the issue to Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, McDonald's, Panera Bread, among others
- France's foodservice market expected to see 2% growth during 2015-2020 period, as weak economic situation compelling French consumers to remain price-sensitive and in turn seek discounted food options, Canadean says
- US visits to fast food establishments for any type of meal will fall 13% in the next 12 months, survey says; fueling that decline may be a reduction in breakfast occasions, as only 28% say they favor fast food for breakfast
- Eighty-seven percent of Americans who use third-party food delivery services agree that it makes their lives easier, with 31% saying they use their services at least twice a week, Mintel says