Blended burgers aren’t new on menus, but they are changing. Where blended burgers used to mean blending rich bacon into a ground beef burger, more often, these blended patties reflect consumers’ increased interest in lighter fare and better-for-you foods. In fact, mushrooms are the most preferred choice of ingredient to blend into burgers, after bacon, according to Technomic’s 2017 Burger report.
What’s more, restaurant operators can offer even healthier versions of these blended burgers, from switching up the main protein to menuing unique toppings, using better-for-you sauces and flavors and even incorporating sustainable options. Check out these four tips for stepping up your blended burger game.
1. Better-for-you proteins
According to Technomic’s 2017 Center of the Plate: Poultry report, build-your-own burgers featuring turkey patties are increasingly popular, and more consumers now than in 2015 say they are likely to order a turkey burger. However, one of the downsides of turkey burgers is that they can be dry. One of the best ways to add moisture (and flavor!) is by adding mushrooms.
Blended burger offerings commonly feature mushrooms blended with ground beef to create a rich, indulgent-tasting burger, but with this turkey trend, operators can try out blending mushrooms into turkey or other alternative proteins, such as ground chicken or even venison. Mushrooms can be an especially great addition in noncommercial settings, where hold times are particularly important—they may be the only plant-forward blending option that provides both enhanced flavor as well as enough moisture to keep a turkey burger from drying out when held.
2. Superfood toppings
Blended burgers are designed to offer consumers tasty new versions of an ingredient they’re already familiar with, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to it when it comes to making the blended burger healthier. Blending mushrooms with a protein is perfect for this option as well, since mushrooms provide a great savory flavor to the burger without overwhelming or clashing with other topping flavors. And while the classic toppings of lettuce and tomato (and sometimes pickle and onion) are always going to be popular choices, operators can mix things up by offering healthy, superfood-type toppings as well, for diners who want a boost of vitamins and minerals.
For example, swap out the slice of tomato with a slice of roasted beet for a similarly sweet yet unique twist. At Gibsons Bar and Steakhouse in Chicago, the Turkey Burger, a recent menu addition, is topped with avocado and baby kale. Packing in new flavors and crisp veggies is what the blended burger is all about. And according to Technomic’s recent Healthy Eating report, 66% of consumers say they’d be more likely to buy and are willing to pay more for items that contain a full serving of vegetables, which can easily be achieved with a blended burger and superfood toppings—and, even better, mushrooms are also a superfood and, when blended into the patty, easily increase the burger’s vegetable content, so chefs can appeal to health-conscious veggie lovers with ease.
3. Lighter, more flavorful sauces and condiments
Rich aiolis and cheese sauces are delicious, but for consumers who want something a bit lighter, there are plenty of options out there. For instance, topping a blended burger with chimichurri sauce adds a ton of flavor without a lot of fat, and flavored mustards can also kick things up a few notches without increasing calorie counts. Additionally, sauces such as these can be made in-house, which 57% of consumers think of as being slightly or much healthier, according to Technomic’s Healthy Eating report.
Some lighter sauces and condiments to consider menuing can include balsamic vinaigrette (or balsamic reduction), romesco or roasted red pepper sauce, onion jam, hummus or tzatziki made with yogurt.
4. Plant-forward fare
With consumers being more interested in trying out plant-forward cuisine, the time for vegetarian and vegan blended burgers to shine is here. Blending ingredients such as pea protein, mushrooms, black beans, quinoa and more is the perfect way to make a blended plant-based burger, and what’s more, these patties offer a sustainable angle. Because it takes fewer resources to grow plants than it does to raise meat, consumers who are concerned with environmental impact when choosing foods may turn to plant-based options more frequently. In fact, a 22% of consumers say they would be more likely to buy and are willing to pay more for items that are sustainable, according to Technomic’s Healthy Eating report.
For operators willing to branch out from meat- and poultry-based burgers, the opportunity to menu a blended burger that’s all plants is rich—Technomic’s Healthy Eating report finds that 45% of consumers say that if offered, they’d be very likely to order healthier options at restaurants.
Phillips Blended Burger: Eat Better. Eat Smarter.
Our chef-tested, clean-label, blended burger delivers big flavor, in a ready-to-cook, 4-oz. patty that provides unmatched flavor, texture, and value. In addition to great nutritional attributes, Phillips’ Blended Burger has a great sustainability story that your customers with appreciate. Rather make it yourself? No problem! We have moisture-reduced, roasted, diced mushrooms available. They are the perfect ingredient for your own blended creation!