According to new survey findings from consumer intelligence provider Mintel Menu Insights, just one in five (20 percent) American diners ranks food health as an important factor when eating dinner in a restaurant. The results indicated that more diners rated taste (77 percent) and hunger satisfaction (44 percent) as important factors. Furthermore, just over half of survey respondents said they order healthy menu items at restaurants, although three-fourths said they would like to see more healthy items on menus.

Although restaurants are creating more healthy food items for customers, unhealthy choices still reign on restaurant menus. Mintel Menu Insights found that during the first quarter of 2009, just 5 percent of new menu items carried a nutritional claim, and nearly 20 percent of new food items were fried. And price remains a deterrent to healthy dining out. Over half of survey respondents said eating healthy at restaurants is more expensive than not eating healthy. Still, more than 75 percent of diners said they want more transparency on food health, which coincides with government efforts to increase nutrition labeling on restaurant menus.

Mintel Menu Insights tracks U.S. restaurant menus to identify flavor, preparation, menu item and pricing trends. For more information, visit