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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Hamburgers rule the fast food world, with almost half of consumers saying they eat at least one a week, according to a new study by restaurant consulting firm, Technomic Inc. Two years ago, only 38 percent of consumers reported having a weekly burger.
"The value menu is certainly a big part of this increase in burger consumption," said Sara Monnette, director of consumer research at Technomic. "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."
The survey utilized Technomic's exclusive MenuMonitor trend tracking tool in order to examine how leading, independent and emerging chain operators offer burgers. The Consumer Insights section of the report examines the burger consumption, purchasing behavior, attitudes and preferences of more than 1,500 consumers, while the Competitive Insights section discusses what consumers say they find most appealing about hamburgers from 40 leading limited- and full-service chains.
The survey found that younger consumers are interested in vegetarian fast-food options, with 23 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 34 agreeing it is important for menus to include vegetarian burgers. Consumers also care about the healthiness of food ingredients, with half of them agreeing that it is important to use steroid-free meat to make burgers.
When it comes to cheeseburgers, the report found American cheese is most popular, followed by cheddar.
Data from Technomic's 2009 Burger Consumer Trend Report is also included in the report to provide a benchmark for many of the consumer trends. Additionally, the study contains detailed concept and menu profiles for 20 innovative and emerging burger concepts, plus full demographic profiles of consumers who purchase burgers at more than 40 leading limited- and full-service chains.
The report is available for purchase at Technomic's website.