Consumers Seek Out Antibiotic-free, Hormone-free Products

Published on: 04/16/2018 in Menu Claims


When it comes to the foods that consumers consider to be healthy, we’ve moved way past just fat and calories. Modern consumers associate health with items that they feel good about consuming. They look for foods that are functional and “clean,” all found under a larger health halo. Accordingly, their awareness of associated health terms has been growing in recent years. While Millennials and Generation X are slightly more aware of terms like “hormone-free” and “free-range,” general awareness of these terms reaches across generations. Nearly 60% of consumers say they are extremely or very concerned about hormones in animals and 55% say the same thing about animal mistreatment according to the market research company, Datassential.

This is good news for operators, who can consider a range of health-driven factors when creating a menu. Consumers indicate that healthy options are not always the most appealing; 88% say they would order more healthy choices at restaurants if they tasted better. Customer favorites, like antibiotic-free chicken and turkey, can be leveraged in on-trend, flavorful dishes while still meeting customer demand for healthy, clean ingredients. In fact, over three-quarters of consumers perceive poultry to be healthy, which falls into Datassential’s range of perceived “ultra healthy” foods. When asked which healthy menu initiatives they wanted to see at restaurants, consumers said meats raised without growth hormones and antibiotics were their top two choices. More consumers wanted restaurants to offer these items than products without artificial ingredients or coloring, scratch-made dishes, seasonal ingredients, or local ingredients.

Yet there can be a gap between consumer awareness of terms like humanely-raised and consumer understanding of what those terms mean. Over 90% of consumers are aware of the terms hormone- and antibiotic-free, but only half say they understand what those terms mean. Operators can help fill in that knowledge gap by defining these terms on menus with help from manufacturers. Perdue’s NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER chicken, for instance, means just that – the animals are never treated with any type of antibiotic at any time.

Defining these terms can be a real opportunity for foodservice operators. Terms like “hormone-free,” “antibiotic-free,” and “humanely-raised” fall into a menu sweet spot – consumers are not only strongly ninterested in these foods, but they are particularly willing to pay a premium for them.

These terms are quickly becoming the industry norm. One-third of operators say they actively seek out hormone- or antibiotic-free ingredients and an additional 30% say they plan to add them to the menu in the future. As more operators from across every foodservice segment add these ingredients to menus, the pressure will only increase for all operators to offer consumers options that make them feel good about what they are eating.


  • The term “cage-free” has grown 48% on menus.
  • 76% of consumers say they are more likely to buy hormone- and antibiotic-free foods.
  • 76% of consumers say they are more likely to buy humanely-raised foods.

Put This Trend into Action

The demand for hormone and antibiotic free protein continues to grow among consumers. Answer the call for this clean-eating demand by serving Perdue NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER chicken and turkey. Raised cage free and fed a 100% vegetarian diet, Perdue’s NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER proteins give your consumers the great-tasting flavor and important health benefits that they seek. Perdue is the #1 advantage-claim protein provider today, allowing you to create trust with your patrons through menuing transparent claims such as “cage-free” and NO ANTIBIOTICS EVER.


Jason’s Deli
(Beaumont, TX – HQ)
GRILLED 100% ANTIBIOTIC-FREE CHICKEN BREAST SANDWICH: A Jason’s fan favorite with your choice of condiments on gluten-free bread. Served with chips or baked chips and a pickle.
Naked Taco
(Miami, FL)
CAGE-FREE CHICKEN SIZZLING FAJITAS: Served with guacamole, pico salsa, crema, arroz, and frijoles refritos or charros, with choice of flour or corn tortillas.