Burger demand wanes at foodservice as prices tick higher

by Joel Crews
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Technomic Inc. reports that high-priced toppings are behind rising prices for burgers, and fewer consumers are buying them.
The cost of premium toppings is driving higher prices for burgers, according to Technomic.
CHICAGO – As consumers demand more variety and higher quality burgers on foodservice menus, costs have increased and consumption has eased, according to Technomic Inc.’s 2017 Burger Consumer Trend Report.

According to the report, which reflects responses from 1,500 consumers, those eating burgers at least weekly has dropped to 56 percent, compared to approximately 66 percent of consumers in 2013. Foodservice venues are feeling the pinch as higher menu prices for burgers with exotic toppings have caused a growing number of would-be diners to eat at home, according to Technomic. The report states that burger prices at the top foodservice chains have increased by 15 percent since 2013 compared to about 11 percent for non-burger menu items.

Other findings in the report conclude that consumers prefer burgers made from fresh ground beef versus frozen, with 48 percent reporting it is “very important.” Demand for breakfast burgers is on the rise with 26 percent of consumers responding that they are “highly appealing,” compared to 22 percent in 2015 and 35 percent of consumers said new and uniquely flavored burger options on the menu are “very important.”

“Burgers are becoming a more premium option as pricier toppings like brisket, fried eggs and avocado trend up on menus,” said Anne Mills, manager of consumer insights at Technomic. “While these ingredients are satisfying demands for new and unique burgers, increasing prices may make burgers a less practical option and push consumers to more affordable alternatives, especially as retail prices for burgers drop.”

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