Barbecue has a different flavor this year: exclusive quick poll

July 11, 2013

Here’s how shoppers react to higher meat prices, brought on by higher feed costs and drought—three out of 10 grill meatless.

We’re in the prime of barbecue season.  Retailers alert to consumer sentiments driving backyard behaviors in 2013 will be better able to message and market them relevantly.

Higher prices help shape their choices of what will hit the grill this summer.  Specifically, higher feed prices (and drought-induced smaller herds) have led to higher beef, pork and chicken prices in stores today.  An exclusive Quick Poll of consumers reveals whether people are sticking with their favorites or switching.  Here are our findings:

  • More than six out of 10 survey respondents (64.4%) are barbecuing the same amount as last year.  Another two out of 10 (19.9%) turn up the high heat less often, while 15.8% do it more.
  • While one-quarter of consumers (26.0%) say they “don’t mind higher prices and will continue to barbecue,” three-quarters have strategies in place to cope with higher prices.  In a question where respondents could check multiple answers, 47.3% say they “cook more side dishes that aren’t meat-based,” 43.8% say they “use less expensive types of meat,” and 34.2% “use less expensive brands or private label.”  
  • Less-frequent ways they save include:  “use vegetables as the entrée more often, such as grilled portabellas” (29.5%), “cook for fewer people” (19.2%), “use alternative meat sources such as veggie burgers and soy dogs” (11.6%), “try to get invited to other people’s barbecues instead” (6.8%), and “use meat helpers/stretchers” (5.5%).
  • The Top 8 meats people prefer to barbecue (multiple responses) are: chicken (87.8%), beef burger (76.2%), steak (73.5%), hot dogs (47.6%), pork ribs (47.6%), pork (40.8%), turkey burger (25.2%), and beef ribs (15.6%).
  • Yet the Top 8 foods people plan to barbecue the most this year (three responses maximum) are:  chicken (68%), beef burger (48.3%), steak (31.3%), vegetables (23.1%), hot dogs (20.4%), pork (17.7%), pork ribs (17.7%), and other (seafood, etc.) (12.2%).