Kerry Taste and Nutrition, the Irish food company, hosted its first industry-wide conference where leaders from the foodservice industry, which featured speakers from Starbucks, McDonalds, and Greggs, met to discuss the future of nutrition.

Speakers gathered at the Courthouse Hotel in Shoreditch as Kerry Taste & Nutrition revealed the results of European research which was carried out across seven markets.

The new research looked into consumer attitudes, needs, trends and behaviours towards nutrition when eating out. There was a specific focus on transparency of food sourcing, sugar reduction, the importance of maintaining signature taste profiles and how this impacts operators.

In addition, new and emerging health trends and the importance of language when conveying healthy options to consumers were also examined.

Key findings from the research consisted of:

• Consumers were found to be looking for food and drink options that are more natural, more nutritious and more environmentally sustainable with 35% considering natural ingredients/flavours the most important nutritional claim at lunch and dinner.

• Across all seven markets researched, 60% of people would like to see more nutritional information such as calorie content, fat content and sugar content displayed on foodservice menus.

• 43% of foodservice customers are interested in or following a reduced sugar trend, and increasingly searching for beverages with low sugar (57%) or no added sugar (53%) attributes.

• 81% of those seeking to change their diet believe foodservice operators have a responsibility to improve nutrition on their menus.

Karl Buiks, vice president for foodservice, marketing and strategic planning at Kerry Taste & Nutrition said: “People are eating out more frequently and demanding healthy options that don’t compromise on taste. The foodservice industry is also being challenged by public health bodies to address this demand with nutritional improvements to menus.

“The aim of this conference was to share insights in nutrition, consumer behaviour and future development of menus with the leading companies in the industry.”