CHICAGO — Restaurants are providing value in hamburgers through premiumization, which is something consumers have come to rely on. In fact, consumers are willing to pay more for a specialty burger, especially a premium burger, than they are for a standard burger, regardless of restaurant segment, according to a new study titled Burger Consumer Trend Report from foodservice industry consultant Technomic.

"American consumers take their burgers seriously," said Darren Tristano, Technomic executive vice president. "It may be one area of foodservice where they are less willing to cut back, despite the current economic environment. They expect to pay more for a higher quality, better burger, and are willing to do so because the value proposition is heightened."

Technomic’s new study details hamburger trends, consumer purchase behavior and menu insights. Highlights include:

  • Seventy-five percent of consumers ranked quality of meat as the first or second-most important attribute in choosing a burger.
  • Thirty-five percent said they will pay more for a burger they consider to be premium.
  • Seventy-two percent of consumers answered a high-quality type of meat (Angus, Wagyu) and 71% responded high-quality cut of meat (sirloin) when asked what makes a burger premium.
  • Twenty-seven percent of restaurant customers today prefer to purchase burgers made with Angus beef, compared to 20% in 2007. Nineteen percent of consumers said they would prefer to purchase sirloin burgers, up from 13% in 2007.
  • Forty-seven percent said restaurants should offer a variety of burger sizes, ranging from mini-burgers to half-pound burgers

Based on more than 2,250 online surveys with U.S. and Canadian consumers, the study was developed to give restaurant operators and foodservice suppliers vital market and consumer insights to drive business-building efforts in the burger category, Technomic said.