British consumers are confused by words used in restaurants, according to research by Bidfood.
Only 37% of the 2,000 people surveyed knew a quenelle was an egg-shaped spoonful, with a quarter believing it was a type of hen.
One in seven thought a ballotine was a dance or a machine used to behead people in medieval times, with one in 12 thinking ‘jus’ was something you put in your hair.
The research aims to show the impact of menus when it comes to consumer dining habits. This will help operators meet the needs of consumers, and help them stand out and boost footfall.
Best words to use on menus, and healthy terminology falling short
The survey also looked at words used to sway decisions when eating out, with ‘spicy’, ‘melting’, ‘marinated’ and ‘smoked’ appealing to consumers the most. A succulent, roasted or spicy chicken followed by a creamy cheesecake has been revealed as most likely to get mouths watering.
However, when it comes to describing healthier dishes, the language used is falling short. Around 30% of diners find boring or unimaginative health foods stop people from eating better, and 38% would like to see operators change how they describe healthy meals.
That includes highlighting how meals are prepared. Popular terms include ‘grilled’, ‘roasted’ and ‘baked’, as well as championing key flavours such as ‘aromatic’ and ‘herby’.
On top of that, with a rising interest in sustainability and the environmental impact of food, terms such as ‘locally-sourced’ (37%), ‘seasonal’ (33%), ‘free range’ (30%) and ‘sustainably sourced’ (26%) are increasingly appealing.
Words such as ‘indulgent’, ‘sweet’, ‘rich’, ‘oozing’ and ‘sticky’ have been voted as the top five words most likely to make you fat.
“It’s fascinating to see the types of words which are impacting consumers dining habits,” says Lucy Pedrick, senior insights manager at Bidfood. “Gone are the days where meals were chosen based on how good they’ll look on Instagram, or how fancy they sound with French phrases thrown in. Instead, Brits are looking for clear and enticing descriptions which tell them where their dish was sourced, how it was prepared and the flavours they can expect to enjoy.
“As we look to improve our health and wellbeing in everything we do, it’s also not surprising that we’re searching for eateries which really sell to us the enjoyment which can be had from lighter options. This is a huge opportunity for foodservice providers to review and refresh their menus when it comes to these types of dishes to ensure they are positioned as being as irresistible as something more indulgent.”