'Chargrilled burgers preferred over crispy, fried ones'

Chargrilled burgers are preferred over the crispy, fried variety, a new survey says, a sign that Indians are getting conscious of the nutritive value of the fast food they eat.

IANS| Last Updated: Dec 18, 2015, 19:22 PM IST

New Delhi: Chargrilled burgers are preferred over the crispy, fried variety, a new survey says, a sign that Indians are getting conscious of the nutritive value of the fast food they eat.

"In the roughly four-odd months of our presence in India, we have seen that our chargrilled options have outsold the regular, crispy, deep fried burgers. We have sold 70 percent chargrilled burgers as compared to 31 percent of crispy, fried ones," global chain Carl's Jr said in its survey. 

"At present, we are offering a menu of which 60 percent consists of chargrilled options (veg + non-veg) and 40 percent consists of regular crispy burgers. India is considered as a market predominantly skewed towards crispy/regular/fried patty burgers," it said.

It said the restaurant market is expected to achieve a valuation of $78 billion by 2018. Present estimates put the size of the burger market at around $92 million. 

Noting that industry estimates "also point out that, as a result of increased disposable incomes, Indians are now eating out all the more as compared to earlier times", the survey said this "brings us to a rather worrying trend". 

"Roughly 40 percent-60 percent of the urban Indian population is obese, which makes us home to the third-largest number of obese people in the world. India surely needs healthier fast food options given that fast food makes up a sizeable chunk of eating out. When it comes to burgers, the Indian market is predominantly considered to be one for fried and crispy fare," it said. 

Carl's Jr with its wide variety of chargrilled burgers, as well as the choice of a 'green' lettuce wrap burger, "is surely paving the path for other burger players to follow". 

"We also found that of the total number of customizations with regards to buns, more than 99 percent of the requests were to switch to honey wheat buns instead of seeded ones, whereas less than one percent wanted to switch to seeded buns.

"Given the emergence of healthier QSR brands such as Pita Pit or Subway, the fast food market in India is expected to soon follow the lines of the western markets by demanding better ingredient knowledge and lower calorie products," the survey noted.