In January, fast-food giant Chick-Fil-A announced that they would be offering a new side option: a chopped kale and broccolini salad. Nutrition experts love to hear about restaurants offering healthy options but this news fascinated me for a different reason…it’s the why. WHY are we now living in a world where fast-food restaurants offer kale? The answer is simple. They have to. Well, they do not necessarily have to choose kale or broccolini. But, restaurants and food companies are beginning to understand that relevancy in today’s health-conscious world, requires innovation. It turns out that it also requires nutrition expertise.
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This is especially true for businesses targeting millennials- the most diverse and highly educated generation in the United States. And shouldn’t we all be targeting them? Millennials and their children, Generation Z, represent 100% of future consumers. They are important.
So, too, are their food buying and consumption habits. According to Nielson’s Global Health & Wellness Survey which polled more than 30,000 consumers worldwide, approximately 30% of Millennials believe that healthy attributes are very important and are willing to pay a premium for healthful products. This is true in the grocery aisle and in the drive-thru. QSR Magazine lists 9 fast-food trends for 2016 and “Real Food” tops the list. Other trends include “Vegetables as the Star” and “Mindful Eating.” I’ve been waiting my whole career to say these sweet, sweet words: healthy food is IN. And that, my friends, is why the (fried) chicken crossed the road (to kale.)