Victorian pubs and clubs support healthier food initiatives: Heart Foundation

18 September, 2015 by
Aoife Boothroyd

New research from the Heart Foundation has found that pubs and clubs in Victoria strongly support healthier food initiatives in their venues.

Over 100 Victorian pubs and clubs were surveyed for the research in addition to quantitative analysis and focus groups which explored opportunities to improve the nutritional quality of meals in pubs and clubs.

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According to the findings, nine out of ten respondents said they were interested in putting a greater range of healthier options on their menus, four out of five said they would consider using healthier food preparation methods, and more than half would like chefs to receive nutrition education.

Diana Heggie, Heart Foundation Victoria CEO, said pubs and clubs are an important part of community life and that the research shows that there are many opportunities for the organisation and the industry to work together to tackle the nation’s growing obesity problem.

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“With Australians eating out more often, and the growing appetite for healthier eating, there are opportunities for healthier food initiatives like putting a greater range of healthier options on menus,” says Heggie.

“We want to work with pubs and clubs to pilot healthier menu initiatives that would hopefully attract customers looking for healthier options and help win the war on weight.”

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According to the research, chicken parmigiana, steak and fish and chips are the most popular dishes across the state’s pubs and clubs, far out-selling healthier dishes such as roasts, salads and vegetarian options. However the research also found that chefs and hospitality professionals believe that the demand for healthier options is on the rise, especially as customers become more educated about their food choices.

“This research tells us that, where there are healthier options available, Victorians will choose them, and that’s great news,” says Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy.

“It means the message is getting out about the importance of maintaining a healthy diet, because we know that unhealthy lifestyles can have long-term health consequences.”

Glenn Flood, development chef at Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group, says that he welcomes push towards creating a wider range of healthier menu options.

“One of the ways we’ve adapted to demand for healthier meals is to constantly introduce new dishes, and provide our guests with clean, lean options that are simply prepared and taste great," he said.