The latest trends in burger production

Changing consumer demand brings opportunities in the convenience food market.

Prepared Foods Burger Patty Processing

The market for burgers is changing. And it is changing fast. There is an increasing demand for different types and textures of burgers. This gives meat processors enormous potential.

If you want to take advantage of opportunities in the burger market, you need to differentiate yourself from the competition. To achieve this successfully, it is important to have flexible processing in terms of texture, shape and volume. And being able to consistently produce unique burgers of high quality is key.

The rise of the burger

Ever since the hamburger as we know it was introduced in the early 1900s, the burger market has changed dramatically. The 1970s saw a rapid increase in the popularity of burgers due to the rise in demand for convenience foods, the growing popularity of fast food and the automation of the production process.

In the last two decades, the trend towards quality, taste and customization has resulted in the emergence of the premium burger. Driven by its popularity, fast food chains, cafes, high-end restaurants and retailers started adding comparable, high-quality burgers to their menus and product ranges.

Whatever the type, there are two crucial factors that affect the consumer experience. Both need to be equally addressed when producing a burger.

Soazig Pinheiro
Product Sales Specialist, Marel

Appearance is key

The appearance of a burger, in both an uncooked and a cooked state, will strongly influence the buyer decision process and is very important for overall consumer satisfaction.

Burgers mostly have a round or oval form but some will have straight, sharp edges, while others are more rustic with a rougher, bulkier form. It is purely down to the individual’s personal preference which of the many shapes is favored.

After cooking, a burger should still look appealing and it is important that it remains a similar size. Cooking the burger will cause collagen fibers to contract, but it is possible to ensure shrinkage is visually minimized by controlling the orientation of the collagen fibers during processing and steering them in a vertical direction. As the burger is cooked, the reduction will then be in height rather than in diameter. This means that it will look similar in size before and after cooking, giving the consumer an optimal post-purchase experience.

The appearance of a burger patty, in an uncooked and a cooked state, will strongly influence the buyer decision process.

Texture determines taste

Appearance is not the only thing that characterizes a burger. Texture also plays an important role and highly influences a consumer’s taste experience.

Texture is determined by the grind size of the meat and orientation of the meat proteins, most importantly the collagen fibers. By controlling the direction of the fibers, it is possible to obtain a certain texture. The size and orientation of fibers allow different amounts of air to be contained inside the burger, which creates different levels of juiciness. Increasing the size of the fibers also gives more bite, improving the feeling in the mouth and giving a more beefy texture.


The main types of burger

Each burger type has its own characteristics to meet diverse consumer preferences and they all have their own specific target market.

Soazig Pinheiro, Product Specialist at Marel explains, “Through the years, we have seen various generations of burger types. Each one will give the consumer a specific eating experience and taste. Today we have the standard burger, which is typically pressed and without a clear fiber orientation. There’s the homestyle and tender-fresh burgers, where the fibers are oriented vertically. And then you have the butcher burger where fibers are interlaced.”

Standard burger patty created by a Marel Revoportioner.

The standard burger

This type of burger uses ground beef with an unordered fiber orientation that is the result of the grinding or mixing process. It is preferable not to use high-pressure forming with this type of meat mass. Instead, it should be gently portioned in a mold without the use of additional fiber orientation techniques.

Homestyle burger patty created by a Marel PremiumFormer

The homestyle burger

When a loose bite is desired, a fiber orientation perpendicular to the plane of the burger is best. This can be compared with how a butcher cuts a good steak against the grain. When biting into a homestyle burger the independent columns will come loose in the mouth and there is no need to cut through fibers. An added advantage with vertical fiber orientation is that most of the shrinkage is in height rather than diameter, which limits visual shrinkage.

Tender-fresh burger batty created by a Marel PremiumFormer

The tender-fresh burger

A bit more bite can improve the feeling in the mouth and give a more beefy texture. Increasing the size of the meat columns causes this effect. Just as with the homestyle burger’s small vertical fibers, the larger vertical fibers also limit the visual shrinkage.

Butcher burger patty created by a Marel MasterFormer

The butcher burger

An alternative fiber orientation is the butcher style, or angel hair texture, where the fibers are interlaced. This texture leaves some air inside the burger, which increases juiciness. It also gives the burger a unique, artisan texture and appearance.

Convenience systems for the future

Flexibility is key for the modern-day processor. To take advantage of market opportunities created by changing consumer demand, a processor needs to be able to produce a variety of burger shapes and textures, in various volumes. At the same time, they have to have consistency and the highest quality.

Regardless of volume or burger type, Marel has a solution to meet your needs. Our burger processing lines are scalable so you can start small and at any time grow your business to meet an increase in volume or demand for new products.

Burger patty production line

Whether you are just starting out in burger processing, wanting to increase your current production volumes, or looking to diversify and create new types of burger patties, we have a full line solution to meet your needs.

Marel meat preparation systems with in-line fat analysis can prepare your mass in a hygienic, accurate and efficient way, to the highest quality. To transport your meat mass we offer a range of conveyors, feeders and screw conveyors. And for forming burgers, we have various innovative systems for low-pressure portioning and forming.

Jacques Meley

What do our customers say?

The French company Deveille knows that they have to keep evolving their company to gain a competitive advantage. Marel meat preparation systems and forming equipment have played an important role in their development.

Get in touch

Our dedicated team is here to help and answer any questions you may have. Please complete the form, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. We look forward to hearing from you.

Login to get full access

Enter password to continue

Wrong password