Trend alert: the United States is just wild about burgers, and burgers are wild about us. It’s something pretty much everyone suspected at this point, but now there is empirical data to back up the claims. According to food trend tracker Technomic, 48 percent of today’s consumers are eating burgers at least once a week – up significantly from 38 percent in 2009.
It’s easy to attribute the rise of the burger directly to the prevalence of dollar menus at fast food restaurants, but the Technomic trend report reveals that dollar menus are just the tip of the iceberg.
“There are other factors at work,” says Sara Monette, Technomic Director of Consumer Research. “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.”
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Translation: we love our burgers, but not just any meat on a bun will cut it anymore. More and more, Americans are demanding a better brand of burger to satisfy their cravings. Consumers have become much more concerned with natural ingredients and meat that is hormone-free, steroid-free, and antibiotic-free, which in part explains why burger joints like In-N-Out and Five Guys trounced bigger franchise competition in the recent Consumer Reports fast food survey. Many consumers within the 18-34 demographic also find it important that restaurants offer vegetarian options.
Interested in finding out more about what consumers are looking for in a great burger? Download the full report at Technomic here.