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Restaurant guests of the future will be interested in many things, including everything from a restaurant’s sustainability efforts to convenience and value. But it’s a sure bet that healthful menu options will be at the top of their list. 

Restaurant experts surveyed for the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Industry 2030 report identified “more healthy options on menus” as one of the Top 25 trends over the next decade.

The restaurant of the future has a menu with “sustainably sourced,” “clean” and “healthy” menu items. Why? The younger generation, Gen Z, will demand it. 

By 2030, most Gen Zers – roughly, those born between about 1996 and 2015 – will be in their 20s and 30s. As this generation make food-purchasing decisions for themselves and their families, restaurants will be catering to the needs of people with:

  • Increasingly sophisticated palates.
  • Interest in plant-based diets.
  • Interest in food sourcing.
  • A strong interest in healthy food and beverage options for children. (The trend ranked No. 2 on our experts’ predictions of health and nutrition trends for 2030.)
  • Expectations for full and easily accessible data on ingredients and nutrition of restaurant foods. (Gen Z is the first generation of truly digital natives!)

What does Gen Z demand from their dining experience?

Restaurateurs are watching this demographic. These next-gen customers are already cooking, dining in restaurants and spending. What sets them apart may be their digital connectivity and the food choices that have always been available to them. 

And that makes them the next opportunity (and challenge) for restaurateurs. Here’s why: This generation may be more willing than those of the past to try different types of dishes and menu items… and are also more likely to expect to be able to have more choices available when they dine out, and to want to know more about these choices. 

In short, a burger and fries on your late-night menu isn’t likely to cut it for Gen Z diners. They’re looking for vegetarian and vegan, and they’re going off-menu by asking for grilled veggies instead of fries as a side. 

Restaurants everywhere are changing their model. The restaurant of the future is transparent about the health information for menu items, has an innovative and fresh menu, and adapts to ever-changing consumer demands. 

Leading foodservice companies are already working to fuel the awareness of healthy eating among younger diners. As one example, Nestle Professional teamed up with more than 4,000 chefs from Worldchefs on International Chefs Day to bring the message of healthy eating to children all over the world through cooking events headlined under the theme “How Healthy Food Works.”

Healthy eating options are not a new trend, but certainly they’re a trend that emerging in importance for the restaurant of the future. Read more about it in Restaurant Industry 2030

This article was created in partnership with Nestle Professional.