Your customers want healthy food. They also want ethical and environmentally friendly food options, which speaks to a fundamental understanding of what they are eating. But, people are also busy and cooking is one of the tasks that can be left by the wayside in place of ready meals, takeaways and meal prep kits.
If you’re a healthy food delivery businesses, or are an established food brand looking to make improvements to your menu or recipes in order to help customers make healthy choices, then look no further.
Here, we advise on how the demand for healthy takeaways fits within food delivery, what you can do to enable customers who want to make informed choices and how you can shake up your menu to make it healthier.
Healthy Takeaways Need To Be Affordable, Available & Familiar
Healthy takeaways are so much a part of the public consciousness that services like the NHS have created guides for choosing healthier takeaways. What you’ll notice when reading this, however, is that the focus is on helping customers to choose from a menu that has only a few healthy options. It points out that customers want something that is ‘cheap, convenient and satisfying’. If the food doesn’t have to be nutritionally balanced then that’s not too hard to achieve.
But this won’t satisfy everyone and certainly won’t be good enough for a growing, discerning segment of customers who want lots of healthy options to choose from, so they can mix up their choices. So how can a food delivery business give the customer what they want and need?
1. Be Realistic About Your Price Point
Firstly, you have to be realistic. Health food will cost more. Sourcing better ingredients, getting them from sustainable producers, using biodegradable packaging, all of these will cost a little more for your food business and that means the customer will have to pay a little more too.
So, rather than cheap, convenient and satisfying, you should aim for affordable, available and familiar. If you want to keep customers coming back, you need to make healthy takeaways that are well priced. They can cost a little more but they have to look and taste it too.
2. List On Popular Ordering Apps/Websites
For smaller food delivery companies, availability is key. Your customers need to be able to find you in online searches or via apps they already use, so that they can choose your food instead of swapping for an easier to access and less healthy alternative.
3. Offer Healthy Twists On Popular Favourites
Lastly, you need to have a menu that is familiar enough that it peaks their interest, while still making healthy swaps. Trying to convince someone who wants a deep dish pizza on a Friday night that they should have a quinoa salad with grilled mackerel on top? Not going to happen. It can be as simple as swapping regular chips for the healthier sweet potato fries.
Ways To Enable Customers To Make Healthy Choices
There are ways in which you can optimise your food delivery business to make identifying healthy food options easy for your customers – especially those who are informed about the nutritional value of different ingredients and how it works for their lifestyle and diet.
1. Control Portion Sizes
Portion control is one of the ways in which people try to take control of their eating. The British Heart Foundation advises using smaller plates to avoid overloading with food (among other tips). Think about the size of the portions that your are offering. Are they larger than they need to be? Perhaps because you want the customer to feel they are getting value for money? Why not offer multiple sizes and include the number of servings per portion. There will be customers who want a single portion for one, and don’t want leftovers, and catering for that can help them to make the healthy choice they want. Have multiple sizes to suit family buying and single person purchases.
2. List Calories & Ingredients
One of the ways that some people look to take control of their food intake is to become more aware of the calories in what they eat. Health is more than calories in vs calories out but if you at least provide this information for customers, those who are looking for caloric intake can use it to make an informed decision. Similarly, listing all the ingredients in your food can help them to find certain ingredients based on if they need more B vitamins or protein, etc.
We would also suggest that you make sure this information is available wherever your food is available, so on both your website (if you allow orders through there) and any food delivery apps. You can also include it on your packaging.
3. Offers For Healthiest Options
Who doesn’t like a deal? You are more likely to get people to adopt healthy alternatives or choices with an offer. For example, you could make the healthiest items on your menu a bit cheaper than average. You could also make the unhealthiest a little more expensive – within reason so you don’t put people off buying your food altogether. Money talks and your customers just might appreciate being rewarded for making a healthy choice.
Ways To Make Your Menu Healthier For Customers
If you are thinking about updating your menu to make it more appealing to those looking for a healthy takeaway, then there are a few ways in which you can change your foods and how you cook and prepare them to do so.
1. Swap Frying For Steaming, Boiling & Grilling
The World Cancer Research Fund has good advice on how the various ways you can cook food affect how much nutritional value is lost/retained and therefore how healthy each is. Fried food, be it chips, chicken or fish, is the most unhealthy and is the big one to avoid. If you are frying food then to make it the healthiest takeaway this should only be done once – the more times a food is fried the more unhealthy it becomes.
Take a look at your recipes and look for ways to switch your cooking method or steaming, boiling or grilling foods to lock in nutrients and make the meals healthier. You can even use these in combination, for example steaming or boiling meat or fish then finishing on a grill to add a bit of colour. Some takeaways do allow for cooking in these ways, but in limited supply, adding more of these options to a menu will give your customers more healthy choices to enjoy.
2. Reduce Soy, Salt & Sugar Use
Now, we aren’t saying that you have to eliminate these ingredients completely. Salty and sweet are two of the big flavours that we associate with takeaways. Healthy takeaways can be created by reducing the amounts of these ingredients over time. For established food delivery brands that are updating their recipes, but also for new food brands who are entering a market where most takeaways use sugar, soy and salt liberally. By gradually reducing the amount of these ingredients used over time, you will get your customers used to it without putting them off.
3. Feature Brown Rice, Pulses & Grains More
What you choose to feature on your menu affects what customers get used to. You can change this by making healthier ingredients like brown rice, over white rice, the standard in your takeaways. Use your influence on the customer by making the healthy choice the norm rather than just having it be the alternative that they have to select.
Not all carbs are bad for us, though some looking to eat healthy food are often misled into thinking this. Really, it’s about finding the good carbs that work with our bodies and add nutritional value to our diets, items like: whole grains, beans and certain fruits and vegetables. Add these to your menu in place of less valuable carbs like white bread, pastry and white rice.
More Healthy Takeaways Are On The Horizon
All of the above advice will help you to get customers buying your healthy takeaway options. Healthy food business are likely to grow in popularity, as the general population becomes more aware of what a healthy food choice is and as more health conscious food brands appear. FoodStars recently spoke to one such brand, MacroFood, who focus on macro nutrient meals that are ideal healthy takeaways, for every day. Read our interview with MacroFood to learn more about how they are doing it.