While healthy eating is not such a priority for older generations, the survey by PwC shows 35 per cent of 35 to 54-year-olds and 23 per cent of over-55s have also moved to more healthy options over the past 12 months.
According to BigHospitality's sister publication MCA Insight, when it comes to the next year 51 per cent of millennials expect to eat more healthily, along with 36 per cent of 35 to 54-year-olds and 19 per cent of over-55s.
Highlighted as a main factor for the enthusiasm among millennials to improve their eating habits is the increasing media coverage of healthy eating across social media, including bloggers and mobile apps.
Other findings show that consumer definitions for ‘healthy eating’ vary, with millennials attributing more trend-based meanings (e.g. high protein, high vitamins) versus older consumers’ more traditional definitions (e.g. low fat). From a regional perspective, 59 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds in the North East consider themselves to be eating healthier compared to last year, whilst Wales had the highest percentage of 18 to 34-year-olds (67 per cent) expecting to improve their eating habits over the next year.
In terms of older generations, 43 per cent of over 55-year-olds in Northern Ireland expect to improve their diet over the next year whilst Yorkshire & Humber has seen the biggest change over the last year with 42 per cent stating that they have changed their eating habits for the better.
Eleanor Scott, Director at PwC said: “Most people want to mix and match, balancing healthy eating with the occasional indulgence.
“Consumers are more likely to have healthy meals out during the week, driven by these being more everyday eating out occasions, and are more likely to treat themselves at weekends.
“In terms of eating out, 47 per cent of all consumers consider it important that a restaurant offers healthy options. You can see many restaurants addressing this trend by adding a healthier alternative to their menus, for example, a thin crust pizza or a bunless burger.”
Lisa Hooker, partner at PwC, added: “There are a range of ‘healthy’ food-to-go operators targeting the midweek lunch occasion where people are more likely to focus on eating healthily.
“In addition, food operators are now focusing more on freshness and provenance given its importance to consumers when eating out.”