Burger growing in popularity among U.S. consumers

Despite the struggling economy and the tightening of individual consumer budgets, burgers are still one of the most popular meal options in the U.S.

Despite the struggling economy and the tightening of individual consumer budgets, burgers are still one of the most popular meal options in the U.S.

A study released this week by Technomic finds burger consumption has risen steadily since 2009. Specifically, nearly half of consumers claim to eat at least one burger per week, compared to only 38 percent noted two years ago.

Sara Monnette, director of consumer research at Technomic, points to the role of the value menu at quick-service restaurants as helping to spur the trend in recent years.

"There are other factors at work, however, as the specialty burger craze has driven growth in a way that is almost defiantly separate from pricing," she added in a statement. "The better burger restaurants in the fast casual segment have put the burger top-of-mind for consumers, and even the quick-service chains have begun to respond and focus portions of their menus specifically on quality perceptions."

However, U.S. consumers are also increasingly conscious of their health, as 23 percent of respondents aged 18-34 stated it's important for restaurant menus to offer vegetarian burgers as well.

Restaurants and food service companies should keep these data in mind when developing their own service practices.