As more Americans ditch their burgers for a healthy salad, we’re seeing a rise in the number of restaurants and products targeting health-conscious consumers. Not only are established fast-food restaurants catering to this growing trend with low-fat and unprocessed items on the menu, but new businesses are also popping up throughout the country. As an alternative to typical fast-food joints for consumers and business owners, these fresh-food chains offer low-carb, vegetarian, all-natural and organic selections.
The natural food and drinks market is expected to exceed $27.5 billion by 2007, according to a survey conducted by Datamonitor. The number of natural food users in the U.S. is expected to hit 266 million in 2007, up 50 million from 2002. This flourishing industry provides busy health-nuts with an alternative to the easy-access granola bar or piece of fruit, and is also spurring a major trend in franchising. Health-conscious franchises are tapping into all that is fresh, with soup cafés, salad bars and smoothie joints.