Consumers are willing to pay more for a specialty burger, especially a premium burger, than they are for a standard burger, regardless of restaurant segment.

That's just one new learning from theBurger Consumer Trend Report, the latest research from foodservice market analystTechnomic Inc., Chicago.

“American consumers take their burgers seriously. It may be one area of foodservice where they are less willing to cut back, despite the current economic environment,” says Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Technomic. “They expect to pay more for a higher quality, better burger, and are willing to do so because the value proposition is heightened.”

Hamburger trends, consumer purchase behavior and menu insights are detailed in Technomic’s new report. Select findings include:

- Consumers overwhelmingly (75 percent) ranked quality of meat as the first or second most important attribute in choosing a burger.

- One out of three consumers (35 percent) say they will pay more for a burger they consider to be premium, down from 45 percent in 2007.

- When asked what makes a burger premium, 72 percent of consumers said a high-quality type of meat (Angus, Wagyu) and 71 percent responded high-quality cut of meat (sirloin).

- Compared to 2007, preference for premium types and cuts of burger is growing. Today, 27 percent of restaurant customers prefer to purchase burgers made with Angus beef, compared to 20 percent in 2007. Additionally, 19 percent of consumers reported they would prefer to purchase sirloin burgers, up from 13 percent in 2007.

- Nearly half of consumers (47 percent) said they think restaurants should offer a variety of burger sizes, ranging from mini-burgers to half-pound burgers

Based on more than 2,250 online surveys with U.S. and Canadian consumers, theBurger Consumer Trend Report was developed to give restaurant operators and foodservice suppliers vital market and consumer insights to drive business-building efforts in the burger category. Analysis of the latest menu trends was based on Technomic’s MenuMonitor database and primary and secondary industry data. The report also includes analysis of current and upcoming burger trends, competitive insights into over 40 chains, segmentation data and demographics for specific burger chains.