More than three out of four Americans had a burger during the past week and 23 percent have had one in the past 24 hours, according to the recently released MenuTrends Keynote Report from food industry research firm Datassential.
While Americans love to grill their own burgers, most of the burgers are eaten away from home and purchased at a variety of locations from upscale restaurants and the neighborhood bar to the major quick-serve burger chains like Burger King, McDonald’s, and Wendy’s. Consumer surveyed cited speed and ease of purchase as the primary reasons for an away-from-home burger.
“When burgers are cooked at home, the majority of consumers prefer to create their own from scratch, rather than using frozen or pre-formed patties,” says Brian Darr, Datassential managing director. “With that in mind, retail products that ease in-home preparation could present an opportunity to increase in-home burger consumption.”
Nearly half of all restaurants have burgers on their menus and consumers typically top them off with classics like lettuce, bacon, onions, cheddar, and ketchup. However, innovative operators are finishing burgers with toppings that can range from deep-fried pickles, potato chips, fruit compotes, and specialty peppers to indulgent items like lobster or foie gras.
When it comes to crafting the best burger, it first starts with great meat, as two-thirds of consumers say having a great protein is the key to a truly great burger. Most consumers reach first for beef burgers, but alternative forms, like turkey and veggie patties, are increasing on burger menus. Aside from the main patty, some operators are taking proteins to the next level and adding other meats, such as pulled pork, brisket, or prosciutto, on top of the burger.
Made-to-order customization is a major factor that is driving consumers away from the traditional burger quick serves to the fast-casual, better-burger chains such as Five Guys, Meatheads, Smashburger, and Shake Shack.
The Burger Keynote Report combines comprehensive data from some 7,000 menus with the opinions and behaviors of over 1,000 consumers nationwide as well as insights from hundreds of operators. The report looks at the current burger landscape, including trends in flavors, proteins, breads, cheeses, sauces, formats, and identifies opportunities for both foodservice and retail operators.