UK restaurants capitalise on healthy eating trend

By Carina Perkins

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

Mezze has experienced a 30% uplift in January sales on the back of healthy eating trends
Mezze has experienced a 30% uplift in January sales on the back of healthy eating trends
Mediterranean chain Mezze Restaurants has reported surging January sales on the back of demand for healthy food.

The restaurant group, which operates six venues in the South West, said sales have grown 30 per cent year-on-year since the beginning of January.

Mezze director Alex Tryfonos said he believes the chain's focus on Mediterranean, Moroccan and Spanish food - with vegetarian and gluten free options – is appealing to customers on a new year health kick.

 “The best part is that eating Mediterranean food is not only healthy; it's also delicious, which is why I believe we have seen this spike in revenue across all of our sites,” he said.

“We are one of a few places where people can eat healthily and therefore the vast majority of people on a diet choose to visit Mezze, so they can eat out without huge calorific consequences.”

Mezze’s results come less than a week after Horizon released its QuickBite report​, which revealed that health and lifestyle choices are increasingly important for diners choosing where to eat out.

Diet dishes

This month also saw a 500-calorie menu based on 5:2 diet recipes unveiled at Chiswick restaurant Sam’s Brasserie & Bar by owner Sam Harrison and head chef Mark Baines.

“When I was on the diet I would often get the kitchen to adapt our menu items for me and when we started looking at the recipes from the 5:2 diet book we thought there were some great dishes and wanted to see if they would work in a restaurant,” explained Harrison.

sams-thai-fish-kebabs
Sam's Brasserie is now serving up a 5:2 menu with low-calorie dishes including Thai Fish Kebabs

The menu, which will also be rolled out at Harrison's in Balham in February, includes starters such as Thai Style Fish Kebabs and Chicken Satay, and mains such as Wild Mushroom & Onion Straganoff with Puy Lentils and Lo-Lo Pork Meatballs with Cavolo Nero. Even low calorie desserts are on offer, including Passion Fruit Panna Cotta and Champagne Granita with Blueberries.

It is already proving popular with customers on the diet, as well as those who are not, said Harrison. “We have had lots of customers ordering the dishes because they are on the diet, but also customers who are not on the diet ordering them because they sound so good,” he explained.

Although Harrison believes good restaurants have always offered healthy options alongside more indulgent dishes, he admits that demand for vegetarian, low calorie and allergy-free food is on the rise.

“It is perfectly obvious that is the way people are heading,” he said.

Health conscious

Another restaurant capitalising on the growing demand for healthy food is Amico Bio, an organic Italian pizza and pasta restaurant which offers vegan, gluten-free, low-carb and low fat options on its menus.

Assistant manager Michela Pagano told BigHospitality that customers are becoming more and more health conscious when ordering food.

“Many customers now ask information about food we have on the menus. In particular they ask information about food provenience and about products we use to cook the food,” she said.

In addition to extending the menu to cater to different diet and lifestyle choices, Amico Bio no longer dresses its salads and offers sauce on the side.

Pagano said she is now planning to add nutritional information to the restaurant’s menus to give customers more information about exactly what is in their food.

“I think all food establishments should do their best to answer consumers demand for healthy dishes,” she said.

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