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    Sizzling Trends in Burger Consumption Fuel Success for Restaurants


    Sizzling Trends in Burger Consumption Fuel Success _Kandessa Medi

    Technomic, a Chicago-based foodservice research and consulting firm, finds burger consumption up significantly since 2009 in its recent study. Half of consumers sampled say they eat a burger at least once a week compared with 38 percent two years ago.

    Quick-service restaurants (QSRs) prominently offering burgers on their menus are a main driver of this increase, according to Technomic's Burger Consumer Trend Report, a comprehensive study quantifying and highlighting burger consumption, purchasing behavior, attitudes and preferences of more than 1,500 consumers.

    Sara Monnette, director of Consumer Research for Technomic, tells Quick Serve Leader that the new report's findings include three emerging trends:

    • Hot burger builds —influence and preparations are creative and trendy. Global influences and innovative preparations are making their way to the menu.
    • The new importance of health-halo attributes —"Foods that are described as local, organic, all-natural or sustainable communicate to consumers that the food they are eating was produced or sourced with ethical, humane or socially responsible standards in mind."
    • Upscaling Burgers —Enhancing the experience or emulating the menus of gourmet burger eateries can be a winning proposition for fast casual restaurants.

    "The value menu is certainly a big part of this increase in burger consumption," says Monnette. "There are other factors at work, however, as the specialty burger craze has driven growth in a way that is almost defiantly separate from pricing."

    Although not a quick serve, Ted's Montana Grill recently launched a line of specialty burgers, according to Technomic.  Two choices on the menu, exemplary of hot burger builds, to inspirte QSRs into burger menu winning formulas:

    • Canyon Creek Burger—Cheddar cheese, smoky bacon, diced fresh jalapeños, blackberry jam and a over-easy fried egg on a corn-dusted Kaiser roll 
    • “New” New Mexico Burger—an update on an old listing, featuring pepper Jack cheese, roasted Anaheim chile peppers, fresh guacamole and housemade tomato jam on a corn-dusted Kaiser roll

    Thirty percent of consumers surveyed in 2011 indicated local meat (sustainable sourcing) as an important part of choosing burgers, compared to 24 percent in 2009, according to the study. Additionally, half of consumers noted steroid-free meats as being important to burgers.

    Additional findings in Technomic's Burger Consumer Trend Report:

    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Gourmet Burgers are trending in the big cities. 5 Napkins Burger in New York, Boston and Chicago, and Boomerang’s Gourmet Burger Joint, an upscale burger restaurant with steak, lamb, and buffalo burgers on the menu, are two examples of elevating burgers to a new level.

    "The better burger restaurants in the fast casual segment have put the burger top-of-mind for consumers, and even the quick-service chains have begun to respond and focus portions of their menus specifically on quality perceptions," says Monnette.

    The Competitive Insights section of this new Technomic study identifies what consumers find most appealing about burgers offered at more than 40 leading limited- and full-service chains.

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    Source: Technomic

    Copyright: Kandessa Media. All rights reserved.

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    This story appears in:  Fast Casual | Food News & Trends