Tackling obesity: Should restaurants be doing more?

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Pizza Express was awarded for its new Leggera pizza range earlier this year, but our restaurant chains doing enough?
Pizza Express was awarded for its new Leggera pizza range earlier this year, but our restaurant chains doing enough?
The majority of UK adults believe that obesity has become a ‘major problem’ in Britain and that restaurant and pub chains should be doing more to promote healthy eating. 

According to the latest Peach BrandTrack survey on attitudes to health and the eating out market, 58 per cent of the public want better nutritional information on menus, with fat reduction sited as the main area that restaurants and pubs should focus more on.

‘Offering more choice’ was the second biggest issue raised, while only 11 per cent placed salt reduction as their top priority.  

Government intervention

Despite these findings, the BrandTrack survey also revealed that the public is weary of a ‘nanny’ approach to healthy eating, with the majority not at all keen on the Government telling them what they should or shouldn’t eat. In fact, the public only backs intervention with any enthusiasm when it comes to their children.

Forty-six per cent agreed with the statement that ‘it is no business of Government to tell people what they should or shouldn’t eat’, against 29 per cent who disagreed. Only 27 per cent think fast food advertising should be banned in contrast to 42 per cent that wouldn’t back a ban.

However, two-thirds of respondents want nutritional information to be compulsory on all children’s menus and for all children’s dishes, with 48 per cent backing a ban on fast food and takeaway food shops being sited near schools, against 26 per cent that don’t.

When asked about their own healthy eating habits, just under a quarter (23 per cent) of the public said they never chose healthy options when eating out, 25 per cent always had sugar in tea or coffee and 9 per cent always added salt to food.

“Nutritional information should be compulsory on all children’s menus and for all children’s dishes”

Brands with the most users who strongly agree:

  • Wagamama - 40%
  • Caffe Nero - 38%
  • Starbucks - 36%
  • Costa - 36%
  • Jamie’s Italian - 36%

“I would like better nutritional information on all menus when eating out”

Brands with the most users who strongly agree:

  • ASK - 35%
  • Caffe Nero - 34%
  • Eat - 34%
  • Wagamama - 33%
  • Costa - 31%

The best choices...

Earlier this year, Pizza Express, Wagamama and La Tasca were placed among the high street restaurant chains who have been voted best choices for healthy eaters by health food magazine Healthy Food Guide.

The magazine went on a quest to find high street restaurants who cater for diners trying to eat healthily, either to lose weight or because of health reasons and today revealed its winning list:

  • Pizza Express - Best healthy eating idea, for its Leggera pizza range (pictured)
  • Zizzi - Best for special diets
  • Wagamama - Best for busting hunger
  • Yo! Sushi - Best for calorie counters
  • Giraffe - Best for variety
  • La Tasca - Best for gluten free
  • Nando's - Best for online nutrition info
  • Harvester - Best for those on a budget

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