About 70% of consumers in America said they would not be prepared to pay extra for healthier menu items when dining out, according to a new study. The study by NPD Group, entitled “Consumers define healthy eating when they go out to eat”, found that for the year to the end of February, 9% of all restaurant visits were undertaken due to a need for a healthier or lighter food option compared to 10% in 2007. According to the study, the highest proportion of consumers (70%) who said no when asked if they would be willing to pay more for healthier items at restaurants, where those over 50 years old. Around 55% of consumers aged 25 to 49 years old said they expected to pay the same price for healthier items as they would for standard menu options, while 9 % said they would be inclined to pay a lot more for healthier choices Those aged 18 to 24 years old were the most inclined to pay more for healthier menu items, with 15% saying they would be willing to pay a lot more. About 44% of consumers in that age group said they would not pay more. Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst and author of the report, told the National Restaurant News:“One of the key takeaways is that pricing of the healthy options needs to be consistent with pricing of other choices on the menu. The market for health today is growing and there is a good opportunity for operators who find a way to offer healthier options at lower price points.”

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