With beverage-makers constantly innovating their product lines to offer consumers healthier options, consumers are at no loss for choices. But as beverage manufacturers are developing these new, healthier products, the bigger question might be if consumers want these options.

During a webinar hosted by Chicago-based Mintel titled “Unexpected Trends, Unexpected Opportunities: Busting Myths in Consumer Behavior,” presenter Alex Smith, director of consumer trends with the market research firm, addressed the myth regarding whether consumers wish to eat more healthfully.

Smith notes that based on Mintel research, quick-service restaurant sales increased 3.1 percent in the last five years and fast-casual restaurant sales rose

35 percent since 2006. In the webinar, she noted that it’s not just about the increased sales. “It’s also about what we’re choosing to eat when we’re there,” she said.

Based on Mintel data, Smith highlighted that 6 percent of consumers follow a strict diet, and 42 percent of consumers reported mostly eating healthy and leaving room for indulgences. She also noted that across all demographics and regions, only 28 percent of consumers say they’re likely to change their orders when calorie counts are posted.

Because consumers are recognizing the limitation of their will power, Smith said this could provide an opportunity for finding a middle ground between healthy eating and indulgence. One way consumer packaged goods companies can help institute this balance is by offering indulgent products, but in smaller portion sizes. In the carbonated soft drink (CSD) category, the top players — The Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple Group — already have embraced this trend by offering CSDs in smaller sizes.

 Although healthy new products will continue to be important, a little indulgence also might be in store for the future.