Value burgers need improvement, argues leading chef

Food manufacturers need to focus on improving burgers at the value end of their range if they want to create a better all-round burger product, a head chef has told MTJ’s Better Burger Campaign.

Bruce Mackie, who is head chef at Moddershall Oaks spa and restaurant in the Midlands, said the burgers he makes in his restaurant are all made from scratch and with good-quality meat – “something that is very easy to do”.

The perfect beef burger, according to the chef, is the burger sold on the Moddershall Oaks lunchtime menu, which is a 50/50 mix of beef steak and beef mince, “because the steak doesn’t have the fat content. If there’s no fat, it’s dry and the texture is all wrong,” he said.

Mackie explained consumers are becoming more aware of what goes into their food, not only because of the horsemeat scandal, but because they are genuinely interested in what they are eating.

Supermarkets, he said, need to look at what’s going into their burgers at the lower end of their offering. “People are more aware now and they see those sorts of frozen things in shops, but they see the fresher burgers on sale for the barbecue and get used to the higher meat content in them.

“It’s time to look at the value range with mechanically separated meat,” he insisted, noting that people who couldn’t afford to buy the ‘gourmet’ burgers sold in shops like Marks & Spencer, should still be able to buy good-quality burgers.

“It’s not going to go back the other way. So to get better quality, do supermarkets just make smaller burgers? The pressure is there; you get what you pay for.”

The campaign

Meat Trades Journal’s Better Burger Campaign started in July and has since visited burger restaurants, and talked to chefs and supermarkets, in a bid to improve the quality of processed burgers.

See our campaign page and join in.