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I’m not surprised.

June 23, 2009

Consumers Say They Want Healthy, but Aren’t Buying It” is a recent article in Ad Age about how people claim they want healthier options available to them when they venture out to fast food joints and restaurants yet don’t choose those items when it comes time to order.

I’m not surprised.

Not surprised in the least bit why people say they want healthy options yet don’t choose them.  Some of the people commenting on this article aren’t surprised either.

“Usually when people eat out, it’s for something they DON’T get at home like fried, fatty, salty, tasty. If you ask a consumer if it’s important to eat healthy, you get an answer that has nothing to do with whether they go out or eat in to do so. Ask the right question, get a relevant answer.”


“With KFC in particular, the draw will always be fried chicken, as the brand will always represent comfort food and consumers go to treat themselves. If that same demographic starts making healthy choices, I’d think they’d be more likely to cook at home or go to a restaurant with a healthier menu altogether.”


When you venture into a restaurant or fast food establishment, I doubt it’s to eat healthy – it’s usually to treat yourself, celebrate something or cure a wicked hangover.  (At least it is these days since so many of us are cutting back on dining out.)  If you want something healthy, chances are you’ll just whip up some healthy goodness at home, not order something “healthy” – which probably just translates to “not as bad as the other crap on our menu” – at a restaurant or fast food chain.

I mean, that’s what I do at least.  When I’m at home, I have control over the health of my food – it’s in the way I prepare it and it’s in the ingredients.  I know if what I am eating is healthy or not – I have that power.  If I go to a fast food place or restaurant, how do I know that these “healthy” options are even healthy at all?  I don’t.  I have no power, no control over that. That’s why I just order a cheeseburger from McDonald’s because, really, is their salad that much better? I think not.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. kimtrokey permalink
    July 20, 2009 10:16 am

    Totally agree. I can make a pretty good turkey sandwhich at home, but I have yet to figure out how to duplicate the pure deliciousness of the Jack in the Box double cheeseburger and curley fries. Fast food for me always is and always will be a calorie laden drunk food or hangover cure. And a salad, even a 2,000 calorie one, just can’t do the trick.

    Will the heatlhy options stay on the menu if people keep continuing to not buy them? Are they worth the menu space so that these places can say do PR and say”See we are trying to be healthy?” even if they aren’t adding anything to the bottom line?

  2. Crystal permalink*
    August 12, 2009 8:24 pm

    This is interesting and important to keep in mind when analyzing consumer feedback. Of course they say they want healthy options. It goes to their values and sense of identity. And it reflects the “right” answer culturally. You’re supposed to say you want healthy options. I think they should keep the healthy stuff on the menu because the presence gives people permission to go through the door. It’s like plausable deniabiltiy. “I could be ordering a salad, you don’t know me, back off.” Then as Kim said, they knock themselves out on a double cheeseburger. People are complex, illogical and often disingenuous when talking to researchers (and themselves). It’s why behavioral data is so much better. If you see big burgers selling, keep selling them unless you’ve taken a vow to sacrifice profits for the greater good. I’d love to see that Burger Executive roundtable discussion …

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