- More people are grilling year-round, according to a new survey conducted by Acosta, with 46% firing up the grill regardless of the season, up from 42% last year.
- All-year grilling is even more popular among Gen Z and millennials (61%). Grillers in the South and West regions are more apt to grill year-round, as well. The survey also found 23% of respondents reported using recipe ideas they found on a grocery store website — up 10% from last year.
- With Labor Day around the corner, 67% of people surveyed are planning to use their grill for the holiday.
Grocers across the country know how to roll out a summertime grilling display. But according to Acosta's findings, stores may want to keep those grills, meat bundles and charcoal bags around a bit longer than usual.
Labor Day is one holiday that could benefit from enhanced promotional activity around grilling. Roughly 24% of Americans reported grilling as a top Labor Day activity last year, according to U.S. Labor Force. Over half of Americans (57%) made some purchase geared toward Labor Day with an average spend of $58 for individuals and $150 for families.
Beef was a particularly popular menu item for the 2018 holiday. In light of USDA projections that average meat consumption would increase 1.4% this year to 57.7 pounds per person, grocers should keep the meat cases stocked and consider promos on steaks, ground beef and other popular grilling cuts.
Some retailers are ahead of the game. Sam’s Club recently expanded its USDA prime beef offerings to all of its retail locations after a 200-store pilot. Albertsons, Walmart, H-E-B, Kroger and Whole Foods also offer prime cuts, which is the highest grade that the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service gives to meat products.
While high-quality meats might be attractive, retailers should keep in mind that shoppers are price-sensitive over anything else. When people shop for meat products, 60% check primary store promotions to find the best deals and are focused most on price per pound, according to a 2017 study from the Food Marketing Institute. These price cuts will be an important factor in boosting in meat sales during the holiday weekend.
Given the ongoing interest in grilling throughout the year, grocers also need to remember the growing population of plant-based protein consumers. Labor Day could be a good opportunity to experiment with new plant-based products and display them on barbecue end caps. But consumer interest in plant-based products doesn't mean they're skipping animal proteins. In fact, the vast majority of people who are purchasing plant-based protein options are still purchasing meat, according to a recent Nielsen study.