For the vast majority of human history, we faced the choice to eat the food that was readily available or to starve. Thanks to vast improvements in agricultural technologies and methods, most of us now live far from that reality. In fact, modern distribution systems mean we have access to seemingly unlimited culinary choices. The real struggle for the modern woman or man is not finding food to survive, but wading through a sea of options to find the food that is right for them. Especially when dining out, our unique personal tastes, goals, ethics and allergies can make getting the right meal feel like a battle. How can operators prevent this being the case: can technology provide the solution once again?
The ‘Right’ Food
Let's start with the basics - what should we be eating? It's a simple enough question but the experts don't seem able to agree. Five portions of fruit and veg a day is a good starting point, but even that has come under question, with many claiming that ten daily portions is a better goal. There are some essential nutrients which are largely un-debated, but when hunting for specifics, it’s a minefield: blogs, instagram hobbyists and even clinical trials provide nothing but conflicting opinions. What nutritional science has revealed is that finding a single, universal, ideal food plan is not just hard - it’s impossible - even identical twins don’t react the same to certain foods.
Food as Fuel
Whether we’re trying to bulk up, trim down or just stay level, food is a fuel to achieve that. Athletes like CrossFit champion Tia-Clair Toomey make sure to consume the right nutrients for their training regimes, but Toomey still likes to vary the details depending on her mood "Whatever my body feels or wants tends to determine what I’m eating," she told Men’s Health. With different goals, and unique biological engines, it’s inevitable that no two people have the exact same needs. As consumers understand this more and more, the foodservice industry needs to be equipped with nutritional transparency and personalised menu offerings, so they can get the fuel that’s right for them.
Allergies and Intolerances
In a world of complex food choices, an increasing number of us also have allergies to contend with. The British Nutrition Foundation report that 1-2% of people have diagnosed allergies, with up to 30% considering themselves intolerant to some foods. For many, peanuts are a great source of healthy fats, protein, fibre and various micronutrients. However, for an increasing proportion of the world population they cause an allergic reaction that can be traumatic, or even fatal. As the prevalence of food allergy continues to rise, consumers will gravitate towards outlets which make allergens clear and easy to avoid.
With the maturation of the millennials has come the rise of ethical consumerism. More than ever, implications on humanitarianism and sustainability are playing a major role in what we buy and how we eat. Interest in veganism increased seven-fold between 2014 and 2019, as shown by Google search trends (see above). In the UK only 1.16% of the population was actually vegan in 2019, but the trend for vegetarianism and flexitarianism is far more widespread, and continues to grow. This trend is well-documented, and reflected in the growth of vegetarian and vegan options throughout the marketplace. As food outlets move from having a single meat-free option to seeing plant-based as more of the norm, menu clarity will play an important role in communicating with customers and reducing accidental mis-orders. Personalisation will also be a big win, making it simple to swap out chicken for halloumi, or other plant based options, and keeping your menu offering diverse and accessible to all.
Total Digital Transparency
As the needs and complexities of personal nutrition continue to grow, restaurants must adapt to meet them, or risk losing out. Partnering with Vita Mojo OS can get you ahead of the game: transforming your menu into a totally transparent and accessible digital ordering platform. A bespoke, on-brand user interface (see the one we built for Leon below) makes it easy for customers to explore your menu and locate the meal that’s exactly right for them, regardless of diet, allergies or ethics. Whether they are using in-store kiosks, click and collect or order and pay at table, offer your customers a sleek and intuitive ordering experience, with allergens, ingredients and nutrients clearly displayed, and complete personalisation where appropriate.
Nutritional transparency is just the beginning, an intelligent digital ordering system provides a whole host of additional benefits - increasing operational efficiency, transforming your customer experience and benefitting your bottom line. With our award-winning product suite and team of friendly industry experts Vita Mojo can provide a partnership which unlocks the complete power of digital for your restaurant. It's up to you to start the conversation.