Consumption of hamburgers in the U.S. is significantly higher than just two years ago, with nearly half of consumers (48 percent) now saying they eat a burger at least once a week compared with 38 percent in 2009. Research released by Technomic, Inc., a foodservice industry research firm, suggests one reason for the increase in burger consumption is the continued prominence of burgers on quick-service value menus.
Technomic’s “Burger Consumer Trend Report” examined the burger consumption, purchasing behavior, attitudes and preferences of more than 1,500 consumers. The report confirms that American consumers still love their burgers, despite recent media chatter to the contrary. In fact, the study found that 36 percent of respondents cited “a craving” as the primary reason for their most recent burger purchase.
The research also indicates that American consumers are developing changing attitudes toward meat and meat production. For instance, findings from the study include:
- Younger consumers are highly interested in vegetarian burger options, with 23 percent of consumers between the ages of 18 – 34 saying it is important for vegetarian burgers to be available on restaurant menus.
- The importance of health-halo attributes such as all-natural, hormone-free, steroid-free and antibiotic-free has grown since 2009.
- The most commonly offered cheese on burgers at limited-service restaurants is American, but Cheddar is by far the most popular in the full-service segment.
“Consumers increasingly call for healthy, high-quality burger options, particularly when it comes to the meat used to make their burgers,” Technomic analysts said in a release about the study. “More of today’s consumers than those polled in 2009 say it is important that the meat used to make their burgers is raised naturally, without the use of additives, and sourced locally.”
Technomic developed the “Burger Consumer Trend Report” to help food industry professionals “stay abreast of how current issues and evolving consumer need-states impact burger consumption.