Meat+Poultry - July 2018 - ground beef - 25
for burgers at retail can
also find a number of
enhanced burger options
including these Loaded
Italian beef patties.
garlic, Gochujang, fire-roasted fruits such as
peaches and pineapple, and fresh toppings like
avocado and arugula reminding the consumer of
The definition of a burger is also being
stretched, challenged and pushed into new territories. Breakfast burgers, burgers topped with a fried
egg, and burgers as lettuce wraps are examples
of enjoying this piece of Americana in an entirely
different way. Cooking methods like barbecue,
pan-smoking, sous-vide and cast-iron searing are
not just for whole roasts and steaks, and they are
being applied to the burger. This cross-over application further illustrates the insatiable desire for
a burger that challenges our perceptions and
satisfies our "rewardable luxury" appetite.
M + P: What consumer trends and tastes are influencing the burger market and the development of
new burger products?
Speas: Eating healthy continues to be important
to consumers and we are seeing that influence in
the burger category, although taste still trumps
health attributes in burgers. Consumers tend to
associate burgers made from fresh ground beef
as being more premium and better tasting and
we have seen a shift from frozen to fresh across
the foodservice channel. According to syndicated
research, nearly half (48 percent) of consumers
say it is very important that burgers are made with
beef that has never been frozen.
Consumers are increasingly interested in
burgers made from newer or unique cuts of
beef. In fact, brisket is one of the fastest growing burger proteins. We have also seen ribeye
patties perform exceptionally well on menus.
Consumers associate burgers made from
specific cuts (source grinds) as more premium
and better tasting.
One overall trend from the food industry
that continues to influence new products is the
consumer's desire to know more about where
their food comes from. Source grind patties is
of a burger
is also being
one way of providing more information to the
consumer while reinforcing the high-quality
eating experience. We have seen more than 70
percent year-over-year volume growth with brisket, prime rib and strip patties, based on syndicated research category growth information.
Another macro trend we've seen with implications in the burger category is the consumers'
need for inspiration. Consumers want something
new and different with their burger, but they also
want the ability to customize so they can accommodate everyone in the household. Because of
this, we've added on-pack "plus up" suggestions.
As an example, for a new seasoned patty we are
developing we will include printed copy on pack
such as, "great with beer braised onions, smoked
cheddar and stone ground mustard spread."
M + P: What are some of the trends when it comes
to burger blends? Both in lean-to-fat ratio and
blends of different proteins?
Tammy Shaw: One of the biggest growth areas in
burger blends is source grinds. According to syndicated research, burgers made from brisket, short
ribs and chuck are showing the strongest growth.
Although still relatively small in share of the category, burgers made from a combination of ground
beef and a non-animal ingredient, such as a vegetable or grain, is appealing to consumers. Cargill's
beef and mushroom blend burger patty is a great
example of how we are working with customers to
manage food costs while also providing a variety of
offerings to meet consumer desires. There is a small,
but growing, segment of consumers who consider
themselves flexitarian. These consumers have a
desire to reduce the amount of animal protein they
consume, but do consume some animal protein as
part of their diets. Blended burgers made from both
animal protein and non-animal ingredients offer this
group of consumers the best of both worlds.
Consumers generally know the more fat, the
more flavor. For patties especially, if consumers are aiming for a flavorful eating experience
they understand a lower lean point is ideal. One
of the fastest growing segments of fresh patties
is premium blends. Year-over-year volume is
up more than 50 percent on fresh patty blends
according to research. Products in the market
with blends vary, as some are created for a highquality, premium use such as blended brisket,
short rib and chuck, while others focus on value
such as a ground beef and pork blend.
Additionally, patties mixed with seasoning
and/or other ingredients such as diced cheese
MEAT+ POULTRY 2018 GROUND BEEF TRENDS + TECHNOLOGY