Kitchens can’t stop flipping as UK burger sales top £3.3 billion

Lucky Chip burger

Britain’s burger market is now worth a colossal £3.3 billion a year. The size of the market is revealed as bars and restaurants prepare to serve up a feast today to celebrate the fourth annual Mr. Hyde’s National Burger Day, with Brits showing strong interest in the occasion.

According to new research from Mintel, as many as 45% of Brits would buy a burger in celebration of National Burger Day, rising to 58% of 16-34 year olds.

Of those questioned, half of consumers in Yorkshire and Humberside (50%), 49% of people in London and the North West (49%) and 48% in the West Midlands would buy a burger to mark the occasion. Two in five consumers in Scotland and the East Midlands (43%) and the North East and the South West (38%) would also buy a burger in celebration of National Burger Day.

The Mintel research reveals that burgers aren’t just a ‘rare’ treat, as three in five (60%) Brits have visited a burger outlet in the last three months, making the UK burger bar market worth an estimated £3.3 billion in 2016, up 22% from £2.7 billion in 2011.

“Enthusiasm for burgers remains strong with British consumers,” said Kiti Soininen, head of UK Food and Drink Research at Mintel. “Food-themed events, like National Burger Day, can capitalise on the growing popularity of the food trend by giving consumers an excuse to go out and enjoy a treat. And it’s not only in London where we see the burger trend kicking off, as the appeal for burgers is strong across the UK.”

While National Burger Day will be showcasing the very best of Britain’s burgers, it’s Londoners who are the most frequent visitors of gourmet burger bars, with one in five (20%) Londoners eating at a gourmet burger bar in the last three months, up from a national average of 7%.

When it comes to what makes a burger venue ‘gourmet’, freshly made burgers top the list. Indeed, 71% of Brits would expect freshly made burgers from a gourmet burger venue, followed by customisable burgers (54%) and a choice of how the burger is cooked (48%).

But while some consumers are focused on burger preparation, for others ingredients take top billing. Almost one third (31%) of Brits would expect to see artisanal ingredients at a gourmet burger venue, while one quarter (25%) would expect detailed information on where ingredients come from and 22% would expect information about which cuts of meat were used. Finally, for one in 10 (11%) consumers it’s not about the burger at all as they would expect to see craft alcoholic drinks on the menu.

“Consumers see freshly made burgers as the biggest marker of a gourmet burger venue, something that sets them apart as this is not traditionally offered by fast food venues. Customisation is also a top expectation for gourmet offerings, in line with a more general demand for knowing what goes into one’s food and the trend for personalisation. Fast food venues are already looking to incorporate customisation options into their menus and competitors should look to follow suit,” Soininen added.

Indeed, even outside of gourmet burger bars, customisation is a trait consumers are keen to see at fast food restaurants. Two in five (41%) fast food users are interested in seeing customisable dishes, for example selecting the bread, meat and toppings, and 35% are interested in a wider choice of burgers with meat other than beef. Additionally, 16% of fast food consumers would be interested in seeing alcoholic beverages on the menu.

Finally, it seems that fast food restaurants need to take note of evolving appetites as near one third (31%) of UK fast food eaters would be interested in trying high-fibre bun options, 23% a wider choice of non-meat options and 14% more gluten-free dishes.

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