We Are (collectively) Hypocrites

Okay, maybe not you, specifically, but the rest of us sure provide enough data to demonstrate that, when it comes to food, we talk a good gain, but our baser instincts tend to make our real decisions. From a recent article in the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

…efforts to curb unhealthy eating aren’t always fruitful. In 2009, a year after New York made chains start listing calories on menus, only 15 percent of diners ordered lower-calorie foods, according to a study in the British Medical Journal.

As a result, many chains have scaled back their efforts to roll out healthy foods. The number of health-related claims made on menus, like reduced fat or reduced carbs, fell 5 percent from 2008 to 2010, according to Technomic’s study of more than 1,200 restaurant chains.

Most restaurants won’t share specifics about how their salads and veggie omelets compete when they’re up against burgers and crepes. But the healthy stuff appears to be only a small proportion of revenue at most chains.

The IHOP pancake house, owned by DineEquity Inc., says that Simple & Fit sales have roughly doubled in the year since the menu was introduced. But it still makes up only a single-digit percentage of revenue.

Also noted in the piece? Only 11% of the parents who order a Happy Meal tend to replace french fries with apple slices.

Now, a quick survey – how many of you out there believe that the restaurants already know this fact, and have accounted for the cost of the healthy items in the more popular products? The odds are quite good that this is exactly what happens.

However, this doesn’t get the rest of us off of the hook. We bear the responsibility of our actions, and if we still order the Quarter-Pounder with Cheese and a large order of french fries, even after noting the salad on the menu, then that’s on us.