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Burger lovers willing to pay more for gourmet options

Consumers are willing to pay on average 10% more for their favourite gourmet burger, according to research by Americana, the burger bun brand from Lantmännen Unibake.

In its Burger Barometer, which surveyed 1,500 people aged 18-59, beef remains the number one burger patty of choice for 68% of consumers with quality cheddar cheese the most popular filling. This was closely followed by BBQ brisket, bacon and BBQ sauce.

Chicken burgers were the second favourite with buffalo sauce, lettuce and mayo the filling of choice for 23% of respondents, with the second most popular choice being fried buttermilk chicken with BBQ sauce, Monterey Jack cheese and onion rings.

The top voted meat-free burger was a veggie bean burger with cheddar cheese, followed by halloumi cheese with grilled aubergine, courgette and peppers. Meanwhile, a falafel burger, avocado and sweet chilli sauce is the number one vegan choice.

When it comes to the bun, a premium brioche option took the top spot with seeded brioche and grill-marked buns taking second and third place respectively. The top side, unsurprisingly, is chips, getting over half of the vote while the new trend for loaded fries came in second ahead of the traditional onion rings. This indicates an opportunity to get consumers to trade up their side from standard chips to premium loaded fries and increase sales.

Cheddar cheese, followed by bacon, was the preferred additional burger filling, which suggests although consumers may be more adventurous with their overall burger choice when it comes to fillings to list on the extras operators should stick to the traditional favourites to appeal to the widest consumer audience.

The Burger Barometer provides further evidence that operators who trade up to gourmet will positively influence their bottom line, with 63% of respondents saying they are willing to pay more for new and improved burger options and up to a total of £4.18 to upgrade to their favourite bun, filling and side.

What’s more, consumers are willing to pay more for their favourite bun than an extra filling (93p). Over three quarters (77%) are willing to pay more to upgrade their bun with the average extra amount consumers are willing to pay coming in at £1.25.

To help outlets futureproof their burger menus, Americana has put together the following top tips:

- Offer choice and personalisation: 26% of consumers expect to see five or more burger options on a menu, demonstrating a clear expectation for choice. 36% want more variety of burger buns and fillings and 34% want more opportunity to personalise their burger buns and fillings.

- Stock high quality products: ingredient quality is the most important factor for consumers when choosing a burger out of home with 36% of consumers wanting to see improved quality to their burgers. Operators should not only stock high-quality products but also ensure they are communicating this to their customers for this to translate to sales.

- Innovate: 35% of consumers want to see new flavours on menus, which means outlets should invest in menu development and ensure they are staying on top of current trends.

- Trade up to premium: 21% of consumers want to see better quality burger buns on menus. A higher quality bun is one of the top three reasons for UK consumers to choose a gourmet burger when eating out of home, trading up from a standard bun to a gourmet bun is a simple yet cost-effective way to increase margins.

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