If you've been noticing a lot of "premium" items on restaurant menus in recent years, you're not alone.
BurgerBusiness.com reports that according to data compiled by market research firm Mintel, the use of the word "premium” on menus has doubled since 2007.
The site references notable examples in Burger King's new "Premium Chicken Menu" and the fast food chain's rebranding of "BK Big Fish" as "Premium Alaskan Fish Sandwich."
As recently as earlier this month, Burger King highlighted new fall menu offerings made with "premium ingredients."
BurgerBusiness.com notes that back in April, Technomic's 2011 Center of the Plate Beef & Pork Consumer Trend Report found that "premium" was the menu term most successful at convincing consumers to buy beef. In that study, 28 percent of survey respondents and 28 percent of diners said they'd be more likely to order "premium" beef and pay up to 5 percent more for it.
The rise of "premium" menu items reminds us of another overused phrase that has gained popularity in recent years. "Artisan" is another term favored by fast food chains the likes of Burger King, Domino's and Starbucks.
In 2011, USA Today spoke with Tom Vierhile, innovation insights director at Datamonitor, about the phenomenon:
"The word artisan suggests that the product is less likely to be mass-produced ... It also suggests the product may be less processed and perhaps better tasting and maybe even be better for you."
What exactly makes "premium" items premium and "artisanal" items artisanal? In both cases, the items are often mass-produced and highly-processed -- we have a hard time believing such offerings live up to claims otherwise.
See what other restaurant chains are embracing "premium" offerings in the gallery below.