From a Philly, to Cajun, to Southwest, to Cuban, to Hawaiian, to Asian, these days burgers are much more than a patty, a slice of cheese and a bun. Today’s burger has a wide variety of flavors and toppings. It seems Americans have fallen in love with this easy-to-eat staple, and a new study has revealed that it’s the taste that keeps folks coming back for more.
According to Technomic, a food industry consulting firm, “Consumers are eating burgers more often than ever before. The overwhelming majority of consumers (95%) say they eat burgers at least once a month—and cravings are driving this high consumption. Half of consumers (49%) cite cravings as one of the top reasons they purchased a burger on their most recent occasion.
“Additionally, year-over-year comparison data show that the fast-casual ‘better burger’ segment and customization formats are fueling the momentum of the burger category. Burger-chain value menus are evolving from a sub-$1 pricing model to one that emphasizes high quality, variety and craveability for a low price.
Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic Inc., says the "better burger" sector continues to thrive in the overall burger category and that trend shows no signs of stopping. “As the burger category evolves, consumer demands are changing. Consumers expect ‘something extra’ when dining out, and better burgers—with quality ingredients and customer-chosen toppings or specialty preparations—can really help deliver that as part of a solid value equation," he says.
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Technomic’s “Burger Consumer Trend Report” found that:
- Burger consumption is up at fast-casual restaurants; 51% of consumers report eating fast-casual burgers at least once a month—an increase from 43% in 2011.
- Quality is key: 51% of consumers say it’s highly important that the burgers they order are made from never-frozen beef—an increase from 43% two years ago. More than half (55%) want menus to specify the type of beef used, up from 48% in 2011.
- Nearly two-thirds of consumers say that build-your-own burger concepts are appealing, and 64% also say that the ability to customize burger toppings and condiments is important. Data indicate that interest in special diets—driven by younger consumers—continues to grow, as more than a fifth of all consumers who eat burgers say that gluten-free (23%), vegan (23%) and vegetarian (22% —up from 18% in 2011) burger options are important.
I’ve seen everything from buffalo-style sliders to peanut butter and jelly burgers, and it seems the sky is the limit when it comes to flavor combinations. Obviously, the burger doesn’t always have to be beef either, but I think for the most part, beef is still the star at the center of the bun. And, as the burger trend continues to grow, this can only mean positive things for domestic beef demand, especially since consumers are willing to pay more for a high-quality product. This is an outstanding way to add value to a cheaper beef item.
What fun and exotic burgers have you seen on restaurant menus? What are your favorite burger toppings? What do you think about the growing burger trend? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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