'Green' menu items have potential for success

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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ROSEMONT, ILL. — Environmentally friendly menu offerings have the potential to help boost a restaurant’s bottom line and provide competitive differentiation if marketed aggressively, according to market researcher The NPD Group.

In the report, "Greener Menus: Can Environmentally-Conscious Menus Also Green the Bottom Line?" The NPD Group found about half of consumers said it’s important to them to be environmentally friendly. Consumers also said they are concerned about antibiotics and hormones given to animals and the importance of food to be organically grown and raised.

"The combination of high consumer concern for the environment and low consumer awareness of what is actually being done provides an opportunity for restaurants to differentiate themselves," said Kyle Olund, author of the report. "To fully leverage the opportunity, restaurants will need to invest in an on-going effort to build awareness, a marketing expense that could pay dividends in the long term."

The NPD Group tested the appeal of a breakfast sandwich described with various "green" attributes against the same sandwich described without the environmentally friendly attributes. In the end, consumers saw the "green" sandwich as healthier and were willing to pay more it.

"Although costs and other considerations need to be factored in, the breakfast sandwich concept test suggests that green menu options have significant potential for success," Mr. Olund said. "Of all the environmentally friendly practices restaurants can adopt, adding green menu options would most directly engage consumers."

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