Going grill crazy for Labor Day

by Monica Watrous
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What consumers are grilling this weekend.
Two-thirds of U.S. households are heating up the grill this Labor Day weekend.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two-thirds of US households are heating up the grill this Labor Day weekend, but new research shows nearly four in 10 consumers who grill do so year-round. Moreover, 61 percent grill eight or more months of the year, said Acosta, a sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods industry.

“While most people think of grilling as a summertime activity, many forget that the fall brings football season, and thus, tailgating,” said Marianne Quinlan-Sacksteder, director, Acosta. “Additionally, although our study found hamburgers and chicken are the most commonly grilled foods, shoppers are also getting creative and grilling seafood, vegetables and fruits.”

Grilling frequency varies by region, as those in the South Central and Western regions cook outside the most months in a year, Acosta said. However, weather is not a definitive indicator. Colder regions, including the Plains and Great Lakes, did not report the lowest usage level of grilling. Millennials, males and families with children grill more frequently than total US grillers, according to Acosta.

The most popular item grilled in the past six months among total US grillers was hamburgers (80 percent), followed by chicken (77 percent), beef steak (66 percent), hot dogs or sausage links (66 percent) and pork (49 percent). Less than half of consumers grilled vegetables (46 percent), seafood or fish (31 percent), kabobs (28 percent) and fruit (10 percent).

Sausages and hot dogs are a familiar sight on backyard grills.
Johnsonville, Jack Link's, and Beretta Farms have all recently introduced new meats for grilling.

Recent innovations promise to spice up consumers’ summer cookouts. Beretta Farms has launched a line of organic beef, turkey and chicken hot dogs that are certified organic, gluten-free and nitrate-free and made from Canadian-reared animals raised without antibiotics or hormones. Johnsonville Sausage released a Butcher Shop line of smoked-cooked sausages in cheddar beer, jalapeño cheddar, Polish sausage, smoked bratwurst, cheddar cheese and andouille varieties. Jack Link’s introduced its new Wild Side Sausage line of fully-cooked links in five flavors, including original hardwood smoked sausage, hardwood smoked with cheddar sausage, jalapeño sausage, bratwurst with bacon jerky, and bratwurst with peppered jerky.

B&G Foods recently added Mrs. Dash seasoning grinders for grilling, and McCormick & Co. has expanded its line of Grill Mates seasoning blends with such flavors as Belgian style white ale, brown sugar bourbon and molasses bacon.

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