Nutrition Labels Survey: Customers Value Transparency From Restaurants

Nutrition labels are becoming increasingly important to consumers. Even those who regularly patronize fast food or quick service restaurants have started looking for nutrition information or labels to inform their buying decisions at those establishments. A recent Gallup poll found that nearly half of consumers look at nutrition information when dining at restaurants. So what do consumers think about those nutrition labels? We asked about 900 respondents just how important those labels are.

nutrition labels

Healthy Consumers

In Ask Your Target Market’s latest survey, 76% of respondents said that they generally care about their nutrition. And 56% said they consider their diet to be fairly healthy. More specifically, 59% said they usually pay attention to the nutrition facts or labels for the food they eat. 64% said that nutrition labels help them determine what food items are healthy. And 75% agree that nutrition labels should be included on all food.

Quick Service Restaurants

In general, 17% of respondents said they last ate at a fast food or quick service restaurant within the past day. 34% have done so within the past week. 23% have eaten at those restaurants in the past month. 8% have within the past three months. 4% have within the past year. 3% said they last at at a quick service restaurant over a year ago. And 10% are not quick service restaurant consumers.

When considering those restaurants, there are a few factors that stand out above the rest. 21% find taste to be an important factor in choosing a quick service restaurant. 20% care about cost. And 18% care about quality. Just 14% find convenience to be an important factor. 12% value nutrition when it comes to choosing quick service restaurants. 8% care about brand name. And 7% care about the restaurant’s reputation.

Nutrition Labels

More specifically, 9% of respondents said that they always check nutrition labels at quick service restaurants. 17% check them most of the time. 19% do so about half the time. 34% rarely check nutrition labels at quick service restaurants. And 22% never do. By contrast, 19% said that they always check nutrition labels of packaged foods. However, just 7% always check the nutritional information at full service restaurants. Of those respondents who say they have generally healthy eating habits, 13% said they always check nutrition labels at quick service restaurants, and 24% do so most of the time.

If a quick service restaurant makes it really easy for consumers to check the nutrition facts of menu items, it could potentially have a positive impact on consumer opinions. 45% said they would be more likely to support quick service restaurants that make their nutritional information easily accessible. However, 41% said they would be less likely to support such a business if those nutrition facts indicate the food isn’t healthy. Those who have eaten at quick service restaurants within the past month were more likely to say that they’d support restaurants that make nutritional information easily accessible, but not any more likely to say that they check nutrition labels at those restaurants all or most of the time.

Key Takeaways

Nutrition labels can certainly be a big factor for a lot of consumers, even when considering fast food or quick service restaurants. While consumers don’t rely as heavily on nutrition labels in those situations as they do with packaged food items, they still tend to care about at least having access to that information. Even if certain menu items aren’t especially healthy, making that information easily accessible to consumers who want to make informed decisions can go a long way toward making a restaurant seem transparent. And the consumers who consider themselves healthy and want to access that information can then make better decisions about which menu items fit with their lifestyle.

You can view the complete survey results in the widget below and be sure to click “Open Full Report” to take advantage of all the chart and filter options.

Photo Credit: Nutrition? by Jonathan Baker-Bates under CC BY 2.0

What do you want to know? If you need some consumer insights on a particular topic, let us know in the comments below and we’ll consider it for an upcoming survey post.

Results were collected on July 17 via AYTM’s online survey panel.

Anne Pilon brings 3 years experience to AYTM as a blogger and journalist. She has a degree in journalism and marketing communications from Columbia College in Chicago and enjoys writing about business, marketing, social media, and art.