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CHICAGO -- Consumers may be interested in watching their weight, but they want to watch their wallets just as much, if not more.
According to a report released today by The NPD Group, called "Consumers Define Healthy Eating When They Go Eat," the previous statement is especially true for consumers aged 50 or older. The study revealed that among the 50-plus age group, 70 percent of respondents said they would not be willing to pay more money for healthful items at restaurants they visited often.
Twenty-five percent of the older respondents said they would pay somewhat more money, while 5 percent of respondents said they would be willing to pay a lot more money to purchase healthier foods.
Survey results altered significantly when younger adults were questioned, however. Among the 18- to 24-year-old group, 44 percent said they would expect prices for healthful items to be the same as other items. Forty-one percent expected to pay somewhat more for healthy items. Fifteen percent expected to pay a lot more for healthy foods.
If there's one key takeaway from the survey, it's that the pricing of healthy foods needs to rival all other choices on a restaurants' menu, said Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst and author of the report. "The market for health today is growing and there is a good opportunity for operators who find a way to offer healthier options and lower price points," she said.