U.S. Shoppers use grilling as a way to celebrate, according to new Acosta research


Jacksonville, Fla., (July 18, 2017) — In recent years, grilling has become much more than just a summer pastime, with 71 percent of U.S. grocery shoppers grilling eight or more months a year, according to Acosta — a leading full-service sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods industry — and the company’s 2017 grilling insights. The research, released just in time for National Grilling Month and National Picnic Month, is the third annual survey analyzing the grilling habits and preferences of U.S. grocery shoppers, and shows that the percentage of respondents who grill year-round has continued to hold steady, with 47 percent of respondents indicating grilling is a tradition for them, and 43 percent feeling it’s more sociable than other methods of cooking.

“Once again, our research shows that grilling continues to be a popular, year-round method of cooking,” said Colin Stewart, Senior Vice President at Acosta. “Whether using a gas or charcoal grill, shoppers view grilling as a social activity and something they always do, making it the perfect way to celebrate special events and holidays with family and friends.” 

 Acosta’s 2017 grilling survey also provided insight into the following: Why Is Grilling a Popular Year-round Method of Cooking? By grilling beyond warmer-weather months, it’s clear that grillers like this method of cooking for a variety of reasons other than just enjoyment of the outdoors. 

  • Seventy-nine percent choose to grill because it provides a better taste or flavor. 
  • Fifty-four percent elect to grill because it doesn’t heat up the house like cooking on a stove.  
  • Significantly more females (43 percent) prefer this method because it gives them a break from cooking, as their spouse or another member of the household typically does the grilling.
  • Significantly more males (43 percent) prefer grilling because it is cost-effective.
  • Thirty-three percent feel grilling is easier than using the stovetop or oven.

When Are Shoppers Firing Up The Grill? Contributing to the year-round longevity of grilling, shoppers enjoy it as a means of celebrating annual holidays and other special occasions, and for many, it has become a tradition.  

  • Spring and summer holidays are still a “hot time” for grilling, with grillers using this method to cook for Mother’s Day (44 percent), Memorial Day (78 percent), Father’s Day (53 percent), Independence Day (80 percent), and Labor Day (73 percent).
  • Sixty-three percent of grillers cook outdoors for family reunions or picnics. 
  • Fifty-eight percent grill to celebrate a birthday.
  • Sporting events also provide a good reason to grill, with 42 percent grilling at home to watch a big game and 31 percent grilling at a tailgate. 

Where Are Grillers Finding Recipe Inspiration? Grillers are using a variety of online and offline sources to get new recipes, tips and ideas for foods they can throw on the grill. 

  • Digital resources are a main source of these ideas, with grillers using recipe (45 percent), cooking show (39 percent), grilling (27 percent) and food-company (24 percent) websites for recipe ideation.
  • The social factor is also influential, as 55 percent of grillers get recipe ideas from family or friends, and 36 percent use social media platforms to gather ideas.
  • Even with the significance of digital in this space, grillers are still relying on traditional cookbooks for recipe inspiration (40 percent).

“With grocery shoppers viewing grilling as a cost-effective and convenient way to prepare daily meals, brands and retailers need to shift their thinking about this cooking method and its associated products, as there’s an opportunity to engage consumers outside the traditional summer months and holidays,” added Stewart. “Even if the temperatures are dropping, that doesn’t mean grillers are no longer looking for steak rubs or hot dog buns.”Acosta’s 2017 grilling research was completed via an online survey of the company’s custom shopper community panel.