Recent research conducted by Technomic finds that more restaurant chains are providing menu items with fewer than 550 calories.
The trend caters to an increased demand for such items and also positions chains to more easily implement pending legislation requiring the display of nutritional information. Restaurants also are becoming cleverer in offering these options without turning off core customers.
"If you can menu these lighter items in a way that does not make consumers feel as though they are sacrificing flavor or satisfaction, they will be more likely to order them," said Darren Tristano, Technomic EVP. "You can tout them as savory and delicious, as well as better for you, rather than picking just one aspect over another."
Some examples of new menu items that contain less than 550 calories include:
- La Madeleine – Shrimp and Tilapia Provençal - 460 calories
- Carvel Ice Cream – Low Fat Sundae Dishes - under 300 calories
- Mimi's Café – Veggie Burger with Fresh Fruit – 364 calories
- Taco Cabana - Build-Your-Own Cabana Bowl - Four under 400 calories
- Fazoli's – New Mini Bakes – 400 calories
- Carl's Jr. – Charbroiled Guacamole Turkey Burger – 490 calories
- Z'Tejas –Turkey Jalapeño Wrap – Under 550 calories
The growth in low calorie items was spotted using Technomic's MenuMonitor, a searchable online trend tracking tool that analyzes more than 1,200 top chain, emerging concept and leading independent restaurant menus around the world.