A new study released by Technomic finds burger consumption has increased considerably since 2009, with nearly 50 percent of today's consumers saying they eat a burger at least once a week compared with 38 percent two years ago.

"The value menu is certainly a big part of this increase in burger consumption," said Sara Monnette, director of Consumer Research at Technomic. "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. 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."

To help food industry professionals stay abreast of how current issues and evolving consumer needs impact burger consumption, Technomic has developed the Burger Consumer Trend Report. 

Report findings include:

  • Younger consumers are highly interested in vegetarian burger options, with 23 percent of consumers between the ages of 18-34 saying it’s 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. Half of consumers currently say it is very important to them that the meat used to make their burger is steroid-free.
  • 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.

The report utilizes Technomic's exclusive MenuMonitor tracking tool to provide an in-depth look at how leading, independent and emerging chain operators are offering burgers.

The Consumer Insights section examines burger consumption, purchasing behavior and the attitudes and preferences of more than 1,500 consumers. The Competitive Insights section identifies what consumers find most appealing about burgers offered at more than 40 leading limited- and full-service chains.

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