Burgers are a perennial favorite, especially during times of economic turmoil or high inflationary periods. For instance, during the 2008 recession specialty burgers boomed onto the foodservice scene. They’re an economical option during otherwise tough times that can be highly customizable and cooked in a variety of ways.

“As burgers continue to grow in popularity, we’re seeing consumers invent new and creative blends, recipes, toppings, as well as sides,” said Jim Rogers, senior vice president of sales for Arkansas City, Kan.-based Creekstone Farms. “And of course, smash burgers continue to be a hit.”

A new way of thinking about trends

A big shift now being tracked by producers like Creekstone Farms is that the actual source of trends is changing, Rogers said.

“Where we used to always say that food trends start in foodservice, we’re now seeing a lot of food trends happening online,” he said. “When consumers are asked where they get their sources of meal inspiration, ‘friends and family’ and ‘routine meals’ used to be the go-to answer, but now customers say they’re getting much of their food inspiration from influencers who are active on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram.”

As far as trends go, that’s a huge paradigm shift for the industry as a whole. Creekstone has gotten on board by partnering with All Things BBQ, which gives consumers recipe inspiration and added confidence to try out the new meat trends.