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Fast Casual Restaurant Nutrition – What Trends Rule the Industry?

If you stay updated about the latest trends in the restaurant industry, it’s very likely that you’ve heard a lot of things regarding fast casual restaurants. This relatively new restaurant concept is a mash up of casual dining and fast food. In the last few years, it has been one of the most powerful segments in the restaurant industry.

Despite the recession, it continues to grow increasingly popular. People have been more focused on fast casual restaurant nutrition choice. Unlike standard fast food chains, fast casual restaurants focus on healthier, nutritious food choices.

A fast casual restaurant provides you with the convenience and ease of fast food, but with an inviting, sit down atmosphere. The menu at these restaurants consist of high quality ingredients that can’t be found at other fast food chains.

Restaurants like Panera Bread, Panda Express, Newk’s and Red Brick Pizza are fast casual restaurant concepts. At these restaurants, customers order from a menu board, sit down and enjoy meals in a leisurely fashion.

Fast Casual Restaurant Nutrition

In recent years, there has been growing evidence that people are more focused on health and wellness. Thus, nutritious food choices will play a vital role for the future of food industry. Even regulatory authorities and institutions emphasize this trend. The average American has started giving more importance to healthy food choices.

More than 73% young Americans claim that they are more interested in healthy food choices and other such practices. Since consumer preferences have completely evolved, food service operators have been facing more challenges.

Fast casual restaurants aim to focus on various factors associated with health and wellness to provide a complete food experience. Some of these include atmosphere, sustainability, flavor, authenticity, taste, texture and more.

Portion Sizes are Smaller 

Fast casual restaurant nutrition emphasizes on smaller portion sizes. This has been a strong indication of health and wellness. It also points toward the increased awareness of what people have started believing. Such changes from fast casual restaurants have a major impact on the entire food service industry. Smaller portions not only lead to healthier meals, but also affordable plates, decreased demand in the kitchen and more.

Nutrient Density has Become a Focus 

Reducing portion sizes is being considered very important. However, there are also other steps taken by fast casual restaurants to provide consumers with healthier choices. Consumers are getting nutritious choices. Since people are more educated, and regard nutrition to be very important, fast casual restaurants have placed value on such aspects. There is increasing pressure on operators to meet such demands.

Restaurants Introducing Nutritious Dishes

Many fast casual restaurants have introduced healthier and nutritious dishes to meet rising consumer demands. For instance, Panda Express recently introduced two new dishes – Shiitake Kale Chicken Breast and Orange Chicken with bacon. In the beginning, these dishes are available for a limited period.

In addition to this, Panda Express also plans to launch a new campaign celebrating the pleasures created by properly combining the experience of dining at Panda with the taste of an exceptional American Chinese menu. The campaign will be called Panda And You.

Love Your Food Everyday

Love Your Food Everyday is a new concept in fast casual restaurants. It aims to provide customers with healthier and delicious food choices. Everything on this menu is less than 60 calories, low in sodium and made without cream or butter. In addition to this, elimination of ingredients rich in saturated fat and healthier cooking methods can help reduce consumer guilt and stress when eating in these restaurants.

When a person can’t make an unhealthy or fatty choice, but still feels satisfied with the dining experience and food, it’s a win-win situation for both parties. Love Your Food Everyday is a concept that offers healthier meals that aren’t full of calories, don’t skip flavor and taste great. Such menu options and food choices have been the primary reason for the increasing popularity of fast casual restaurants.

Some of the most common consumer demands include enhancing portion flexibility, healthier food choices, global flavors and menus accommodating food sensitivities and allergies. With the increasing popularity of fast casual restaurant nutrition, these demands will only increase in the near future. People are more focused on living by healthy standards, and make sure they are not enticed by unhealthy food choices.

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