WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The restaurant industry has long been committed to promoting healthy lifestyles and proper nutrition, and continues its dedication to successfully fulfilling the dietary needs of American diners. New research by the National Restaurant Association reveals that consumers agree that they do not need "expert" advice on choosing menu items when dining in the nation's 858,000 restaurants.
"The restaurant industry is an industry of choice," said Association President and Chief Executive Officer Steven C. Anderson. "Our research confirms what we already know, and have long known-that Americans are willing and able to make their own choices and take responsibility for their own diets, without being told what and where to eat. In fact, virtually all consumers say they are qualified to make their own dining decisions."
This new Association research-a November 2002 telephone survey of more than 1,000 adults nationwide-reveals that virtually all adults prefer to make their own menu choices without input from outside sources, as 95 percent of consumers agree they feel qualified to decide for themselves what they should order when dining out.
The research further shows that consumers are clearly hearing what nutrition experts say-that all foods can be part of a healthy diet-and do not need the "food police" telling them which food items to include in, or exclude from, their diets. More than two out of three (68 percent) report they are tired of hearing about what is good and what is bad for them when it comes to food items, a substantial increase from a decade earlier.
"Today's consumers want choice and flexibility in the foods they eat, and restaurants have always offered a wide variety of venues, menu items and portion sizes to accommodate the diverse dietary needs of a diverse population," said Sheila Cohn, R.D., the Association's manager of Nutrition Policy. "Good nutrition is best served when consumers know that education, personal responsibility, and choice go hand-in-hand in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Efforts by some groups to alienate certain food items perpetuate the myth that there are 'good' foods and 'bad' foods, which every legitimate nutrition expert will confirm is not a valid approach to promoting healthier living. The key to an overall healthy lifestyle is balance and moderation in food choices, complemented by physical activity."
For more information on the restaurant industry's commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles, please visit the Association's Web site at www.restaurant.org.
The National Restaurant Association, founded in 1919, is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which is comprised of 858,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a work force of 11.6 million employees - making it the cornerstone of the economy, career opportunities and community involvement. Along with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, the Association works to represent, educate and promote the rapidly growing industry. For more information, visit our Web site at www.restaurant.org.