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The Delectable Truth About Burgers

Molly Shelton

Meatingplace July
Reading Time: 3 minutes

A quintessential American summer just isn’t complete without the sound of juicy beef burgers sizzling on the grill. As warm weather approaches and COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease, consumers have another reason to embrace the start of summer: Their beloved burger doesn’t just taste delicious, it packs a nutritional punch! So what better way to kick off Memorial Day weekend than by celebrating National Beef Burger Day on May 28?

After all, now is the perfect time to remind consumers of beef’s rightful place on the plate as part of a wholesome meal. Coming out of the pandemic, health and wellness sit at the forefront of American minds. In 2020, over two-thirds of consumers put some or a lot of effort toward nutrition, with 72% of consumers buying “better for me/my family” meat and poultry options.1 Additionally, the coronavirus has driven a sharper focus on personal health, with 3 in 5 consumers indicating they plan on eating healthier.2 Timing is also of the essence as the push for plant-based meat alternatives continues – the category grew 83.9% in 2020.1 More than one-half of flexitarians have increased their frequency of eating vegetable/plant proteins according to a 2019 study. Of those, increased consumption is linked to perceptions of improved health, with two-thirds claiming “I consider it healthy for me.”3
This confluence places all meat players in a position to capitalize on this unique moment. The opportunity is clear and immediate: Protect market share by promoting the nutritional value of meat – including the classic beef burger – in a relevant way that addresses consumers’ health and wellness goals.

To help accomplish this, the meat industry should make it as easy as possible for consumers to shop nutritiously. Whether online or in-store, retailers should wholeheartedly welcome both die-hard meat eaters and flexitarians, ensuring their place as the go-to resource for balanced meal solutions. Today’s consumers are likely to respond to easy, visually appealing, wholesome recipes from retailers and brands,2 so make sure that innovative recipes for beef burgers are on your site. Feature real ground beef as the protein star of the plate and bring on the veggie fixin’s, cross-merchandising with produce to offer tasty, healthy meal solutions. Play up the burger’s seasonal relevance while also calling out its nutritional value.

After all, unlike many plant-based burgers, the beef burger is a “complete protein,” meaning it contains the nine essential amino acids the human body cannot make on its own. In fact, three ounces of ground beef deliver 10 essential nutrients (with just 170 calories) we need for healthy lifestyles – the ideal base for building a deliciously nutritious burger this summer, and throughout the year. By sharing these nutrition facts with your customers, you give them permission to enjoy the beef burgers they already love, guilt-free.

“Americans love authentic beef burgers, and they’re a practical solution for enjoying more food groups most people don’t eat enough of each day, like vegetables and fruits,” said Shalene McNeill, PhD, RDN, Executive Director, Nutrition Science, Health & Wellness, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “With more Americans looking for easy steps to enjoy healthier lifestyles, now is the perfect time to help people ‘beef up’ their protein-packed beef burgers by promoting new ideas for adding nutrition bonuses with toppers like spinach, slaws, pineapple and mangos and more.”

Nutrition aside, real beef burgers are also better for business. The pandemic has amplified Americans’ affinity for authentic beef burgers, given that “nearly nine in 10 consumers have ordered a restaurant burger in the past three months. The current economic, social and political climate has Americans reaching for comfort foods like burgers.”4 The lockdown influenced Americans to get comfortable cooking meat, with a significant number (59%) of meat eaters saying they will continue to experiment with different ways to cook meat.2

As we think beyond the pandemic, the time has never been better for the meat industry to educate consumers that comfort food favorites like beef burgers are flavorful, nutritional powerhouses. There’s just no better way to jump-start summer. How are you celebrating National Beef Burger Day? I’ll take my burger caprese style with fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes.

For more delicious beef burger inspiration, visit the recipe collection from BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

1 Anne-Marie Roerink, Principal, 210 Analytics LLC, The Power of Meat 2021:  An In-Depth Look at Meat Through the Shopper’s Eyes, Report sponsored by Sealed Air Food Care Division/Cryovac® and Published by Food Marketing Institute Foundation for Meat & Poultry Research & Education
2 Midan Marketing, The Pandemic’s Lasting Imprint on Meat Consumers, January 2021
3 Midan Marketing, Consumer Segmentation, Flexitarian Profile, July 2019
4 Mintel Burger Trends: Incl Impact of COVID-19, US, November 2020

About the Author

As a brand strategist, Molly Shelton analyzes culture, trends and market landscapes to help meat industry professionals own the animal protein story. She describes herself as a consumer-obsessed storyteller, collaborator and industry disruptor with a track record of turning consumer insights into marketing results. Before coming to Midan, Molly worked as director of marketing strategy at Save A Lot , bringing a plethora of practical grocery experience to meat industry clients at Midan Marketing. Molly’s work has been awarded national and regional Addy’s awards, and she was named the Curated Design Show Winner by ArtBistro.com. Molly is a creative and visionary leader with proven success as a champion for the meat industry.
Molly Shelton