Topline Trends Tuesdays: Fried food facts

May 19, 2009

friedtempuraI’m wondering if anyone else got the memo about how North Americans are fat and make bad food choices. No? Just me? Okay then, listen up: apparently we should treat fried and battered meal and snack choices as sometimes foods. Sorry for the let-down, but it’s true.

And I’m pretty sure 99% of the people who order fried food know that information, too. Yet, we still keep buying it.

In fact, as this article in Restaurants & Institutions Magazine points out, some restaurants are thwarting the recession by offering more fried food menu items. Apparently this is one of the categories of foods that people prefer not to make at home so they visit restaurants specifically to get their fried food fixes. As a small consolation, more chefs and cooks are frying up battered veggies as well as fries and fish but they’re still selling a whole lotta fried food including pickles, twinkies and bacon at places like the Burger and Cheesesteak Factory in Athens, Georgia.

Why do we keep succumbing to the lure of crisply-cooked, lavishly-salted chicken, fish and potatoes? QSR Magazine (yeah, I know, my nightstand reading selection really could be racier!) reports on a Technomic study that asked American consumers what qualities they associate with fried food. The results reveal that these foods hit a lot of emotional triggers:

• 89% tasty
• 86% satisfying
• 83% filling
• 80% something I crave
• 77% comforting
• 71% good value

I’m guessing that a Canadian study would net fairly similar results. How about you? Do you dream about donuts, fantasize about French fries or swoon for shrimp tempura? Come on: admit it. When’s the last time you feasted on fried food?