How Supermarkets Can Step in for Fast Food Restaurants

The Lempert Report
January 16, 2015

Health & Wellness

Consumers who are looking for convenient food options should still stay away from fast food. Find out why, next!

We’ve all seen the commercials, and we know that fast foods restaurants are trying to get a little healthier. But are they?! Well according to some new studies published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, over the past 18 years, their menu’s nutrition hasn’t changed much at all. 

Tufts University researchers analyzed menu data from some of the top fast food chains in the US and among 27 menu items, only eight of the offerings contained fewer calories in 2013 than in 1996 and nine contained more. In addition, five of the 18 items tested for sodium content had less of it at the end of the 18-year period and seven had more.

Menu items under scrutiny was primarily, cheeseburgers, french fries, grilled chicken sandwiches and non-diet sodas sold between 1996 and 2013 at three leading fast-food chains, which weren’t mentioned by name. The calorie content of foods also varied over time. An order of small fries at the top chain contained 20 calories more in 2013 than it did in 1996. At the other two chains, the calorie count for small fries rose by 50 and 90 during the same period.

With fast food restaurants seeming like an obvious target, is it such a great surprise that cheeseburgers are no healthier now than they were years ago? Maybe not, but such studies are important reminders for supermarkets that in our fast paced lifestyle, consumers want and often just need convenient solutions. As noted in the report, Americans eat more than one-third of their calories away from home, and about 40% of those calories come from fast-food establishments. Such fast food restaurants are affordable and quick, and that’s appealing. But prepared foods at supermarkets can offer this as well.  In fact being able to pick up convenient and healthy options at your local supermarket is often more convenient for the consumer if they are having to fill up on household supplies anyway.