CHICAGO – Burger consumption in the United States has gone up considerably since 2009, according to a new study released by Technomic. Approximately half of today’s consumers said they eat a burger at least once a week compared with 38 percent two years ago.

The continued prominence of burgers on quick-service value menus is one reason behind the increase.

“The value menu is certainly a big part of this increase in burger consumption,” said Sara Monnette, director of consumer research. “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.”

Technomic’s Burger Consumer Trend Report also found:

• Younger consumers are highly interested in vegetarian burger options. Twenty-three percent of consumers between the ages of 18-34 said it is 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.