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Burger Consumption Still On the Rise

Food industry research and consulting firm Technomic reported early this month that consumption of burger in America turned out higher than the numbers we had in 2009.  Fifty percent of consumers who were asked said that they consume at least one burger once a week, as compared to the result of 38% a couple of years ago.

One reason for the increase is the continuing presence of burgers in the main menus and table tents of quick-service restaurants (QSRs) across the country.  The report came from Technomic’s Burger Consumer Trend Report, which conducted a thorough research on burger consumption in America, quantifying the purchasing behavior, preferences and attitudes of more than 1,500 consumers.

The report included the rise of better burgers—creative, trendy, healthy and more upscale.  Burgers that are prepared with international inspirations and those that are made with all natural, locally-produced and organic ingredients are in full swing, making this an opportunity for fast-casual restaurants to come up with more lucrative, cost-effective products.

The report also showed that consumers are more particular on the way their burgers are made, comprising 30% of the total customers surveyed, the numbers significantly higher than the 24% findings in 2009.  Consumers are more likely to buy food that was produced or sourced with more responsible humanitarian, ethical and social standards, noting steroid-free meats as an important factor to consider.

The younger market are into vegetarian hamburgers, with 23% between ages 18-34 pronouncing that it is essential for vegetarian options to be available in their burger choices.  The patty of a veggie burger may be made from vegetables, soy meat or textured vegetable protein, nuts, dairy products, legumes, wheat, mushrooms or eggs. Among the many restaurant chains that have been offering this kind of sandwich is Burger King, Subway’s, Harvey’s, Chilis, Red Robin, Ruby Tuesday’s and Hard Rock Café.  McDonald’s and KFC have long been serving veggie burgers in places where vegetarianism is widespread.  McFalafel, which is being offered in Dubai and Egypt, consists of falafel patties (ground chickpeas and fava beans), while McVeggie, served in Greece, consists of breaded and fried vegetable patties. With this reported trend, we can expect that more varieties shall come up in the coming year.

The markets’ ardor for sophisticated, expensive, rare or meticulously prepared burgers is also increasing, especially in the big cities.  Upscale burger joints offer mint lamb, Greek lamb, buffalo, steak, kiwi burgers, organic wild boar, wagyu beef and chorizo (spicy Spanish sausage) burgers on their menus and table tents, and the people love it.   Gourmet toppings like avocado, caramelized red onions, fresh grilled mangoes, roasted garlic slices appear tempting, and the choice of cheese are also varied.  While it has been reported by Technomic that the most common cheese that is used at restaurants is American and cheddar, gourmet burgers use more flamboyant choices, such as gouda, muenster, mozzarella, provolone, blue cheese and many more.