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Consumer Trend: Bigger, Better, But More Spendy Burgers

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This grilling season, will consumers splurge on burgers or will they pocket the savings instead?

Memorial Day weekend is officially the kickoff to summer grilling season, and now that it’s passed, many are speculating whether consumers will be splurging on meat or saving their money this summer. As food prices rise, what is the latest consumer trend? Despite the cost, it appears Americans are still in love with big, juicy burgers and steaks!

According to The Denver Post, “The money you're saving on gasoline may go toward buying steaks, ribs and chicken for the barbecue. Meat prices are expected to rise faster than overall food costs in 2012. Prices rose in the spring and may increase an additional 1-3% this summer. Grill masters will find bargains harder to come by as retailers attempt to recoup some of their higher costs. Gas prices have dropped about a quarter recently in most parts of the country, which helps consumers. Still, shoppers should look to stock up when they do see sales on burger meat, steaks, chicken wings or pork chops. Supermarket meat prices have increased because the number of cattle, hogs and chickens dropped last year in the U.S.”

The good news is that beef will still be at the center of the dinner plate this summer, but consumers are seeking more information about preparation, nutrition and meal planning.

As reported by John Lundeen, executive director of market research for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) in Beef Issues Quarterly, “Consumer research reveals that people have a desire to include beef in their everyday meal choices, especially for grilling purposes. However, purchasing practices that include freezing beef products coupled with meat industry and government recommendations to thaw meat products overnight in the refrigerator make including beef in a meal challenging because many consumers decide the same day about what to have for dinner that evening. Beef industry research reveals some of these trends and opportunities to adjust product offerings to make them more appealing to today’s consumer.

“The recipe for expanding use of beef in America’s household is pretty straightforward if you examine recent consumer research. The industry needs to provide a high-quality and nutritious product that will make every consumer in a household happy. Whatever the industry can do to make the grilling occasion more exciting will pay dividends as consumers love their grills, and the grilling season just keeps getting longer. Consumers want simple tips on how to make a steak special, and simple suggestions for rubs, marinades and spices. Based on consumer market research, the industry also needs to focus on how to provide products that are ready for cooking in a world that is increasingly about same-day decisions on what to put on the table.

“For 54% of consumers, the grilling season starts before April. And for a similar 56% of consumers, the season doesn’t end until October or later. A whopping 21% of consumers grill year-round.”

And for those not worried about sticking to a budget, there is a new burger to savor in New York City, but it’s going to cost you $295.

According to Fox News, “Serendipity 3 on the Upper East Side features the world's most expensive hamburger. The $295 burger, available with 48 hours of notice, is called Le Burger Extravagant. The dish is a mix of Japanese Waygu beef infused with 10-herb white truffle butter; Salish-Alderwood smoked pacific sea salt; cheddar cheese hand-formed by famous cheesemaker James Montgomery in Somerset, England, and cave-aged for 18 months; shaved black truffles; and a fried quail egg; served on a white truffle-buttered Campagna roll topped with a blini, crème fraiche, and Paramount Caviar's Kaluga caviar. The finishing touch is a solid gold Fleur de Lis toothpick encrusted with diamonds and designed by jeweler Euphoria New York.”

Would you buy a $295 burger? What are your best grilling secrets? How can we boost beef demand during summer grilling season?

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BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”

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Amanda Radke

A fifth-generation rancher from Mitchell, SD, Amanda grew up on a purebred Limousin cattle operation in which she and husband Tyler are active. She graduated with a degree in agriculture journalism...

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