One key trend in the foodservice marketplace is the continued rise of the “better burger” segment, led by places like Five Guys Burgers and Fries.


According to new Technomic research, the overwhelming majority of consumers (95%) say they eat burgers at least once a month.


Half of consumers cite cravings as one of the top reasons they purchased a burger on their most recent occasion. Additionally, year-over-year comparison data shows that the fast-casual “better burger” segment and customization formats are fueling the momentum of the burger category.


Burger-chain value menus are evolving from a sub-$1 pricing model to one that emphasizes high quality, variety and crave-ability for a low price. “The better burger sector continues to thrive in the overall burger category and that shows no signs of stopping,” says Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic Inc.


And now, naturally, supermarkets are joining the better burger arena.


Inspired by the open-air markets of Europe and a true passion for food, Giant Eagle just opened its first Market District food store in northeast Ohio – a 94,000-square-foot culinary, dining and shopping destination in the Solon Village Shopping Center. The Solon Market District, the seventh for the multi-format food retailer, delivers a food utopia to northeast Ohio residents with a mix of the best in everyday offerings and unique foods from around the world.


One of the more unique features of this Market District store is its gourmet burger station, where perfectly grilled hamburgers are made from meat fresh ground in-store by their own butchers. These burgers are served with house-made burger sauce and hand-cut french fries. The house special, Solon Burger with smoked Gouda cheese and pepper smoked bacon, sells for $5.99.


Giant Eagle’s move could result in other supermarket chains offering “better burgers.” Of note, burger consumption is up at fast-casual restaurants; 51% of consumers report eating fast-casual burgers at least once a month—an increase from 43% in 2011. And nearly two-thirds of consumers say that build-your-own burger concepts are appealing, and 64% also say that the ability to customize burger toppings and condiments is important.


The burger business has certainly come a great distance since Burger King’s “Have It Your Way” slogan was first introduced in 1974.