31 May Consumer i – Premium Burgers
Consumer i: Premium Burgers
Tasted and Rated by people like you
Despite past concerns over health and sourcing, the British love affair with the burger shows no signs of fading, fuelled by the growth of chic gourmet burger outlets that have helped transform opinions of this simple treat. Neither does our love of the barbecue, for despite a dreary summer, we held an estimated 120m barbecues last year. Matching these trends, the major grocery retailers stock a range of classic premium burgers, heavily featuring their provenance and quality credentials. Whilst food experts and pundits continue to argue over what constitutes the ‘best’ burger, we thought we’d find out what the average consumer thinks of the choices available to them at their local stores.
Real time testing…
Using barbecue tasting sessions in the homes and gardens of our Interviewer team (typically the weather was mixed), we tested a range of premium own label Burgers with a sample of 51 regular premium burger buyers/consumers across the country who shopped at a representative range of grocery outlets. Tested without knowledge of the brand or price, the burgers were tasted in their naked state (i.e. without a bun, sauce, etc), with the price and brand revealed only after tasting and rating each burger.
What makes a good Burger?
With a simple mix of meat, seasoning and little else, tasters were very focused in their evaluations. Taste and Texture were obviously key drivers of opinions, but the devil was in the detail and impacted strongly on what was considered good Value for Money…
- Texture is critical. Burgers are expected to be plump and juicy, with an almost melt in the mouth consistency, but excessive greasiness was punished, as was the presence of gristle. Essentially the burgers must look and taste lean, or the meat quality will be questioned.
- A good balance of seasoning distinguishes the winners. The highest scorers for taste achieved the best balance of flavour, with the lingering flavour left in the mouth a key driver of overall opinions of the burgers tried.
- Value for money is not just about price. Size definitely mattered (it would appear that bigger is definitely better in this market), and some of our burgers were simply too small. More importantly, meat quality was central to overall enjoyment. While provenance helped boost value perceptions, all of the burgers we tested were premium offerings, many contained Aberdeen Angus beef, with the Co-op’s Hereford Burgers offering similar quality assurances. Morrison’s use of ground Chuck- a traditional burger meat cut from the neck to the ribs – was familiar to more discerning testers.
Who does them best?
The biggest surprise was Marks and Spencer, with 1 in 4 rating their burgers ‘much worse’ than expected from this brand. The Waitrose product was the stronger of the two top end retailers, but like M&S, the premium price led to a drop in buyers after price reveal. Expectations were not quite as high for Aldi, but their burgers still disappointed many consumers. The Aldi burgers fell into the trap of tasting “greasy”, leaving a fatty aftertaste unlikely to be disguised by added sauces.
Tesco hit the middle ground, providing a perfectly acceptable burger but failing to spark a great deal of enthusiasm with Sainsbury’s Steak Burgers generating a similar response.
Lidl, Asda and Morrisons came out top and had clearly worked really hard to get a good quality product in a market where consumers remain anxious about meat quality. The Co-op had a great proposition and generated the most potential buyers before tasting, but failed to match the top three for Taste due to its strength of seasoning. Narrowly ahead with top marks was Lidl, which 3 out of 4 consumers were keen to buy for themselves and would happily recommend. The Lidl burger ticked all the boxes: great value, lean and succulent with a well-balanced flavour.
Find out how each retailer performed – Click Here
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