American adults who belong to a gym and buy local or organic food still turn to fast food for lunch. Twenty-six percent ate a fast food lunch at least 10 times in a month, according to a new survey released April 17 by Scarborough, a local market consumer research firm.
Nearly 75 percent of all health-conscious consumers lunched at a fast food restaurant within the survey's 30-day time period.
The fast food choices of health-conscious consumers, pegged at 9 percent of the population, differed somewhat from the rest of American adults. The top three restaurants for each group were McDonald's, Subway and Wendy's. But Panera Bread ranks fourth for healthy consumers, while all U.S. adults preferred Burger King. Rounding out the top five for each consumer group was Taco Bell.
While Chipotle and Starbucks were visited more frequently on the healthy consumers' list, both lists reveal a litany of unhealthy fast food chains. But some chains are clearly doing a better job of attracting health-conscious consumers, according to Alisa Joseph, vice president of advertiser services for Scarborough's parent company, Arbitron.
"This latest analysis reflects the enormous shift in the quick service restaurants' initiatives toward healthier menu options and branding," said Joseph. "Though price point is still important to their core customers, healthy menu options within that price point will satisfy the customers they have, as well as grow their health-conscious consumer segment."
The top local markets for health-conscious consumers who eat fast food?
- Denver – 12 percent of adults
- San Diego – 11 percent
- Rochester, N.Y. – 11 percent
- Baltimore – 10 percent
- San Francisco – 10 percent
Are you surprised—or appalled—at the survey's results? Leave a comment.