Tip: Skewer kabobs with sprigs of rosemary for instead of conventional skewers. Photo courtesy Sur La Table.
To capture consumer trends around grilling and barbecuing, the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) conducts the biannual HPBA Barbecue Lifestyle, Usage & Attitude Study. Here are highlights from the 2014 State of the Barbecue Industry Report, which are based on data gathered in August 2013.
Reigniting the Spark: Outdoor Cooking Still Hot
Eighty percent of households own an outdoor barbecue, grill or smoker.
Nearly all (97%) of grill owners used their grill in the past year.
The majority of grill owners (60%) use their grills year-round.
Sixty-one percent of households own a grill own a gas grill, followed by charcoal (41%) and electric (10%).
Nearly half (45%) of grill purchasers bought a replacement grill last year, with 29% buying an additional grill.
Grill Usage: Consumers Loves to Grill Year-Round
The major summer holidays top the list of the most popular grilling days: the Fourth of July (68%), Memorial Day (52%) and Labor Day (51%).
Winter holidays saw an increase in grilling over 2011: Super Bowl Sunday (31%), Easter (18%), Thanksgiving (15%) and New Year’s Eve/Day (15%). Grilling Thanksgiving meals outdoors is increasingly popular.
Nearly half (49%) of grill owners see their outdoor grilling area as a functional cooking area of their home; more than a quarter (30%) see it as entertainment area and 21% see it as a place to rest and relax.
Thirty-seven percent of consumers have a large, moveable grill system on a modest patio/deck, with some outdoor furniture and an informal place to eat.
Consumers say an easy ignition system (49%) and large grilling surface (39%) are the most important features of a gas grill, followed by ease of cleaning (35%), quality of construction (32%) and ability to heat up quickly (29%).
Owners of gas (42%) and charcoal (34%) grills view the color of the grill as a major purchasing factor, a 38% increase from 2011.
When entertaining using a barbecue grill, gas grill owners use their grill an average of 12 times a year, electric grill owners 12 times a year and charcoal grill owners 11 times a year.
Tasty Trends: It’s All About the Meat
Meats, including hot dogs (72%), steak (71%), burgers (69%), and chicken parts (64%), top the list of the most popular foods prepared using a grill.
Grill owners believe that food cooked on their grills rather than their ovens is more healthful (38%), while 57% believe it is just as healthful.
Nearly three out of four consumers (74%) who cook on a gas grill normally use barbecue sauce for basting during cooking.
Dry meat rubs remain popular among consumers, with 33% using them more often than not.
Treat yourself to extra-long tongs. These are from Sur La Table.
Household Roles: Male or Female, Everybody Grills
The male head most often makes the decision to cook (62%), lights the grill (73%) and does the cooking (68%).
Whether male or female, nearly 78% of consumers cooking on the grill consider themselves to be “extremely proficient” or “proficient in most situations.”
Across the board, males are most likely to make the decision to purchase a grill (66%).