Burger size shrinks as food costs rise

20 August 2013

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21 August 2013 | Will Green 

Diners are getting less meat in their meals because of the rising cost of food, according to a study.

The research, by food service consultancy Horizons, found the average weight of a beef burger had fallen to 6.35oz in 2013, compared to 7.69oz in 2010 – a 17 per cent drop. 

Compared to last year, sirloin steaks have shrunk in size by 8 per cent, fillet steaks by 7 per cent and gammon steaks by 4 per cent. The average price of a burger – still the most frequently listed main course on British menus – is £9.27.

However, hot dogs – with an average price of £6.12 – have grown in popularity, featuring on 85 per cent more menus than last year. 

Nicola Knight, director of services at Horizons, said: “Against a backdrop of rising food costs and squeezed consumer spend, the reduction in weight of key meat dishes demonstrates that operators are having to become more savvy with regard to menu and price engineering.

“This could explain the huge growth in hot dogs on menus – they are relatively cheap to produce and operators can easily add value to them, enabling them to charge more.” 

The research analysed the menus of 115 chains including pubs, restaurants, quick service outlets and hotels.

Knight said: “We have been surprised by these Menurama results, which show a significant growth of meat-based, American-style dishes across the menus of a broad selection of eating out establishments.

“Since last year we have also seen a decline in the use of healthy eating descriptions, perhaps as operators steer their menus towards indulgence.” 

The top 10 main courses featured most frequently on menus are: beef burger, pizza, chicken burger, fish and chips, rump steak, roast chicken, rib eye steak, chicken curry, sirloin steak and Sunday lunch.

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