Get ready for grilling season

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Over the past two years, the pandemic has forced people to stay home more than ever, which has forced consumers to cook far more of their own meals. Unsurprisingly, many have turned to grilling, especially during the typical summer grilling season, and interest in the meats used has increased dramatically.

According to data from Nielsen, the past year has seen strong demand for barbeque-related cuts of meat, and there’s little reason to expect that trend to slow. Retail sales of cuts like ribs, shoulders and brisket were up 26% from year-over-year levels, compared to the overall fresh meats category, which was up 11 %.

Another recent study by the Hartman Group found broiling to be one of the most improved or acquired cooking skills during the pandemic.

“Grilling has continued consumer interest,” said Damita Crouse, consumer insights manager at Hormel Foods, Austin, Minn. “Grilling itself is also changing with the emergence of indoor grilling. They have made it easier for consumers to achieve grilled flavors at any time of the year and without any special knowledge of how to make a fire. , whether it’s using wood or charcoal, maintaining a grill, weather and other considerations.

Sarah Findle, director of marketing and communications for Coleman Natural Foods, Westminster, Colorado, noted that budgets continue to be tight in an uncertain economy and shoppers today want to be sure they are buying foods from quality in which they feel good. feed their families – and many have turned to meats for the grill for dinner options.

“When inventory on the shelves was low, people bought sausages, hot dogs and other cuts of meat that they normally wouldn’t have,” she said. “This unexpected trial helped consumers understand that natural sausages and grilling meats made with clean ingredients are a great source of protein, taste great, and can be used for multiple eating occasions.”

When it comes to grilling, consumers have generally become much more comfortable with food preparation over the past two years.

“That confidence has led to an increased desire to experiment, especially with premium cuts of meat,” said Britney Banuelos, senior fresh meats brand manager for Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods. “They may feel better prepared to cook cuts of meat that they previously only bought at restaurants, for example. For many, backyard barbecues will also feel a little more special this year, so they might want to indulge a bit during gatherings.

A lot of choices

Grilling has become a very social experience with hordes of weekend barbecuers and professional grill masters sharing images on their social accounts of their world-class burgers, tips on how to cook the perfect steak and images of family and friends cooking.

“Whether you’re Bobby Flay with 1.7 million Instagram followers or your barbecue-loving brother-in-law with 32 followers, sharing content about grilling and the grilling lifestyle on social media is exploding,” said Sarah Crowley, Marketing Manager for Verde Farms. , Woburn, Mass. “Beyond cooking tips and recipe inspiration, we also know that consumers frequently turn to these channels to consume educational content about meat cuts and grades, which greatly influences preferences and buying decisions.”

The company has seen consumer interest in premium products like 100% grass-fed organic beef burgers increase dramatically over the years.

“Since 2017, revenue from pre-prepared fresh beef burgers has doubled and unit sales have increased 80%,” said Dana Ehrlich, Founder and CEO of Verde Farms. “Burgers with inclusions are experiencing phenomenal growth, including cheddar bacon, jalapeno and pepper jack, as well as pre-made steakhouse burgers, whose sales have increased by 20% in the past year.”

Tyson Foods offers a strong portfolio of fresh meat brands, including its Chairman’s Reserve Platinum Angus, a USDA Upper 1/3 Choice offering that provides a superior barbecue experience for both novices and experienced grill masters.

“When it comes to grilled meats specifically, popular barbecue cuts outperformed other fresh meat sales,” Banuelos said. “On the beef side, roasts including chuck roast, round roast and loin roast, as well as brisket, are the most popular for barbecue.”

Hormel Foods’ Jennie-O and Applegate brand hot dogs and hamburgers and its Hormel pork tenderloin products have both garnered great interest over the past couple of years, with Crouse noting that they’re great for any type of grill and provide consumers with choices beyond typical grilling options.

As grilling season approaches, Coleman Natural Foods will offer new preparation styles and recipe ideas to help consumers make meals and gatherings even more memorable.

“We want to inspire people to go ‘beyond the bun’ with recipes like hot dog fried rice and Chicago dog salad,” Findle said. “Beyond the typical backyard grilling occasion, we’re sharing these inspiring recipes and different ways to stretch a single pack of sausage over a few meals that will help consumers get creative not just in the kitchen, but also by stretching their budget. Creativity and ingenuity will be the name of the game.”

For example, Coleman Natural all-beef hot dogs and bratwurst sausages from the Budweiser BBQ collection have been popular items enjoyed from Memorial Day to Labor Day and beyond.

“The 12 oz. 8-pack is big enough to feed a crowd or have leftovers you can incorporate into creative meals throughout the week,” Findle said. “Our Budweiser BBQ Bratwurst and Pulled Pork with our all-natural, crate-free pork and the iconic taste of Budweiser lager beer will be grill favorites with their classic flavors and simple grill-and-eat preparation.

See sales growth

Merchandising is key to success in the category, so Banuelos recommends retailers clearly identify which meat crate cuts grill well through in-store displays, online descriptions and even on packaging. For those with the resources, she noted they should consider cooking demonstrations to engage and get more inspired.

“From our side, we deeply value our partnership with our BBQ Ambassadors,” Banuelos said. “These award-winning pitmasters understand the quality behind our Chairman’s Reserve brand, and we understand the value they bring to our consumers, offering tips, tricks and recipes to guide them wherever they are on their barbecue journey. “

To appeal to convenience-minded barbecue enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike, retailers should offer both high-quality cuts of meat and fully cooked convenience foods.

“Positioning both on a single screen can provide the best of both worlds for those looking for a smoky fix in hours or minutes,” Findle said.

Barbecue enthusiasts may walk into a store looking for a specific brand of meat or cut to complement a recipe, and a retailer can help guide busy consumers to side dishes, seasonings and flavorings. seasonings, as well as meat toppings that help prepare their meal.

“A popular accessory for hanging out by the grill and cooking up a delicious meal in the summer heat is a cold beer,” Findle said. “Consider displaying beer near the barbecue section. Our Budweiser BBQ collection offers the best of both worlds and the Budweiser Red really catches the eye and the appetite.

So even for Americans returning to the office after working from home, barbecuing should continue to be a way to reconnect with friends and unwind.

“Many consumers are ready to welcome family and friends this year, and now that they have a new set of grilling skills, what better way to reconnect than through barbecuing, which has long been one of the -Americans’ favorite times,” Banuelos said.

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