SOURCE: Claritas Inc.

May 23, 2005 08:00 ET

Integras Restaurant Audit Survey Shows the Face of the 'Carb-Conscious' Consumer Is Changing as the Low-Carb Craze Wanes

Data Points Up That Their Increasing Focus Is on Overall Nutrition

SAN DIEGO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 23, 2005 -- In the face of a steady decline of the low-carb craze, the face of the so-called carb-conscious consumer is also changing, not only literally, but figuratively, as the importance of healthy and nutritional food now extends beyond its carbohydrate level, according to a special report from the Integras Restaurant Audit.™ Integras is the advanced analytical services division of market research leader Claritas Inc.

"Offerings designed to appeal to a low-carbohydrate segment need to address the segment's focus on overall health/nutrition. This segment has a holistic, total-health perspective; their concerns are not limited to carbohydrates," stated an excerpt from the report, an 18-page document titled "Catering to the Carb-Conscious Consumer."

Ramona Spencer, Vice President of Consumer Research for Integras and a co-author of the report, said respondents were categorized into two groups -- Carb-Conscious and Carb-Neutral. Their dining out patterns were analyzed, as well as their attitudes regarding:

--  Health and Nutrition
--  Convenience
--  Price and Promotion
--  Variety and Selection
    
Some key findings, according to the report, include:
--  Vastly larger proportions of the Carb-Conscious vs. Carb-Neutral said
    that they order differently if nutritional information on menu items is
    available (82 percent vs. 38 percent); and eat at fast food places that
    offer healthy menu choices (77 percent vs. 45 percent).
    
--  Significantly fewer have gone to McDonald's within a 30-day period (48
    percent vs. 53 percent), and more have gone to family casual restaurants
    offering salads/other healthy alternatives, such as Applebee's, Chili's,
    Cracker Barrel, and Ruby Tuesday's.
    
--  Beyond the most commonly named motivators for restaurant choice, i.e.,
    food, location, and value, the availability of healthy food items was among
    a second tier of reasons considered important by the Carb-Conscious in
    their selection of a specific restaurant. According to the data, 23 percent
    felt it was important compared to 10 percent of the Carb-Neutral.
    
The Restaurant Audit is a survey of nearly 30,000 respondents that offers a sweeping range of information, collected at the household and individual levels, regarding behavior and attitudes toward eating away from home, as well as a complete battery of demographics.

For more information on the report, and how it can be purchased, contact Ramona Spencer at 312-583-5406 or by email at rspencer@claritas.com.

About Integras

Formed in January 2003, Integras provides high-end analytical consulting and advanced decision support for marketing and location strategy. A division of Claritas Inc., Integras combines sophisticated quantitative analysis with the broadest array of consumer and business data available in the United States to help companies make better strategic decisions. In addition to conducting four syndicated surveys (Insurance Audit, Market Audit, Convergence Audit and Restaurant Audit), the Customer Research and Targeting business unit of Integras conducts custom primary market research on behalf of their clients. For more information about these and other Integras services visit www.integrasconsulting.com.

About Claritas

Since 1971, San Diego-based Claritas has been the pre-eminent source of accurate, up-to-date marketing information about people, households and businesses within any geographic area in the United States. Its target marketing services are aimed at reducing the cost of customer acquisition and growing customer value. Claritas offers industry-leading consumer segmentation systems, consulting services and software applications for site analysis, advertising sales and customer targeting. Claritas is a division of VNU, a world-leading information and media company that includes ACNielsen, Nielsen Media Research, Spectra Marketing Systems and Scarborough Research, among others. To learn more about Claritas and VNU products and services visit their web sites at www.claritas.com and www.VNU.com.

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