Canadian Pizza Magazine

‘Fresh’ most enticing food descriptor, says U.S. panel study

By Canadian Pizza   

Features Business and Operations Marketing culinary visions food descriptors marketing

Descriptive words, including “fresh,” “local,” “homemade” and “natural,” would entice the majority of consumers to purchase food from either a restaurant or store, according to a recent study by the Culinary Visions Panel in Chicago. 

The online consumer research study explored more than 1,200 consumers’ mindful-eating values and attitudes.

Fresh is the descriptive word that attracts 60 per cent of consumers when purchasing food from a restaurant or store, and it is the only descriptive word that entices more than half of respondents, Culinary Visions said in a news release. The word appealed most to women at 73 per cent, while only 65 per cent of males agreed that the word fresh would entice their purchase decision.

Local, homemade and natural follow fresh as the most appealing descriptive words, with women more captivated by the word homemade than men.


Not surprisingly, millennials are attracted to items with organic designations, a term that is less alluring to older consumers, especially baby boomers at 23 per cent. This is consistent with restaurant preferences, as the survey revealed 72 per cent of millennials prefer to order items that are organic, compared to 40 per cent of boomers.

“When targeting a specific demographic, like Millennials or Boomers, operators and manufacturers are more likely to find success by incorporating certain descriptors into food packaging and menus,” said Sharon Olson, executive director of Culinary Visions Panel, in the release.

The word organic appeals most to those who have visited a fast-casual restaurant, with 69 per cent of these survey respondents saying they would select menu items that are organic compared to the average of 54 per cent who dine at other types of restaurants.

Other descriptive words that entice fast-casual customers more than other restaurant segments are handcrafted, sustainable, free range and artisan.

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