Grilling for all seasons

April 24, 2012

The latest SupermarketGuru consumer panel on grilling suggests that outdoor cooking is not just for spring and summer, and is enjoyed by men and women!

When the weather warms up, so do those grills! And our latest SupermarketGuru consumer panel on grilling suggests enthusiasm is high for this type of outdoor food preparation not only for the spring and summer seasons, but also for the colder months.

During the warmer months, 60% of our panel told us that they grill two to three nights per week, 17% grill one night per week, and 10% grill five or more times per week. Only seven percent said they rarely grill, and only four percent grill once per month.

In addition, we found that 60% of our panel enjoys grilling in the colder months just as much as in the warmer months, 30% grill more often in the warmer months, and 10% grill less often than in the colder months.

Traditionally, men play the role of "grill-master" in households, and 51% of our panel said this was true. However, another 20% of households have hailed mom the "grill master," suggesting that modern supermarkets have a great opportunity to promote grilling to women.

And when we take a look at what shoppers are putting on the grill, we found that 82% "must have" burgers (beef and turkey), and 81% "must have" chicken. Other "must haves" include vegetables (66%), hot dogs/franks (46%), fish (41%), and veggie burgers (16%).

And when it comes to side dishes to round out their grilled main dish, our panel wants grilled veggies (67%), leafy greens (59%), baked beans (51%), pasta salad (37%), and grilled fruit (17%).

We also wanted to find out what our panel thinks will be the next big trend in grilling. Forty-one percent predict meatless grilling or grilling fruit/sides/desserts as the next big trend, 22% said predict game meat or non-traditional meats becoming more popular, and 18% look forward to more gourmet burgers with unique toppings.

Although most stores will want to take advantage of upcoming holidays/events such as Memorial Day, Father's Day, and Fourth of July to promote grilling, The Lempert Report would like to suggest that stores take opportunities to promote grilling more often than that, since the findings suggest that grilling is more than a special occasion hobby and is not limited to warmer months only.

Here are some different ways to incorporate grilling promotions and events:

- Offer package deals on grilling ingredients. Bundle together a meat, side dish, grilling spice, and dessert.
- Use your prepared foods department to promote side dishes! And offer the recipe for those shoppers that would rather prepare the dish themselves. Purchase a side dish and get a recipe card to go with it!
- Speaking of recipes, our panel said that 63% of their grilling recipes are family recipes, and 62% use recipes from websites. How about hosting a "recipe exchange" event in the store or even better, outside the store. Your store's own grill master can give demonstrations, while shoppers commune and share ideas.
- In addition, take advantage of the store's website, Facebook page, and Twitter accounts to provide grilling recipes, and give shoppers the opportunity to share theirs while networking with other grilling enthusiasts.
- And since we found in 20% of households, moms do the grilling, how about a special promotion for moms that grill! Something like a "Mom" grill-off precluding Mother's Day. Offer the winner a gift certificate to a local spa or salon.
- Does your store have a growing number of vegetarians or consumers looking to limit their meat consumption? Promote meatless grilling demonstrations and ideas.