How grocery stores can make grilling sizzle
- More than seven in 10 U.S consumers have a grill, Anne-Marie Roerink, lead author of a meat study by the Food Marketing Institute, the Foundation for Meat and Poultry Research and Education and others, shared in a Supermarket News report. “If we can find a way to inspire just one more cookout by solution-based indoor or online offerings, it is a huge win for not only the meat department but the total store,” she said.
- Grilling is big for millennials, who may plan a bigger party around the Fourth of July than they do for Christmas, Tony Stallone, vice president of merchandising at Peapod, said in the same report. Stalllone also added that his store starts grilling season promotions early to maximize benefits.
- Younger shoppers need additional guidance when they fire up the briquettes, so retailers might provide pre-sauced or pre-seasoned meats, or videos showing preparation ideas, experts told Supermarket News. Millennials also seek new experiences, so some stores offer special “limited-time only” meat blends in July and August — prime grilling season for most customers.
Other than the smell of freshly cut grass, nothing announces the arrival of summer like the aroma of brats or hamburgers sizzling on the grill. For many grocery stores, the height of grilling time can bring a bump in sales. Flip-flop wearing customers who enter the store are likely to leave with not just a few pounds of protein, but condiments, salad, chips, beer and more. About eight out of 10 millennials with kids, choose to grill beef over other protein options, often pairing burgers and steaks with grilled veggies.
In addition to offering preparation suggestions, selling pre-packaged meals to be grilled, or creating specialty burgers — such as beef patties stuffed with bleu cheese — retailers should show millennial shoppers ways to make grilling a fun experience. Trends indicate younger consumers want food to be healthful and convenient, but they are also looking for new experiences, according to Beef Retail Marketing. This demographic wants meals to be social, and finds grilling a fun and interactive way to hang out with friends and family.
Millennials like to be experts and know about what they’re eating. Peapod provides that knowledge through a virtual dry-aged steak program, in which shoppers preorder their steaks, watch them age and then see a video on ways to prepare them. The online store also has videos on ways to grill side dishes, Stallone told Supermarket News. This kind of experience-focused marketing strategy could help lure shoppers who are on the fence about grilling to the meat case, and could drive purchases of meat-adjacent items like grilling brushes, kebob skewers and vegetables.
With summer being high season for grilling, grocers can start marketing options in springtime. Stallone said Peapod gets fired up in April through Memorial Day, and goes full blast by early June. But grilling's season may be extending into fall. As tailgating before football games has become more popular and extravagant, millennials are associating grilling with sports and good times. Grocers would do well to integrate those ideas in their marketing.
To maximize the time of year, grocers should put grilling supplies together in one central area to make purchases easier. They can also take a page from Hy-Vee, putting potential side dishes such as corn on the cob within the grilling display. The store's website includes very detailed suggestions for preparing foods and planning the perfect party. Stores with the space and staffing could even invest in an onsite grill and grill master to give cooking demonstrations or answer shopper questions.
- Supermarket News Fired up for grilling season