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05/12/2021

Another Hot Grilling Season Well Underway, Research Finds

New report shows that summer is coming early for many shoppers already spending on barbecue products and other outdoor essentials
Another Hot Grilling Season Well Underway, Research Finds
Consumers grilled more seafood last year and are on track to cook up more healthier proteins.

It isn’t even Memorial Day yet, but U.S. consumers are in grilling mode. A new report from NCSolutions (NCS) found that Americans purchased barbecue-related CPG items at a higher rate in April than they did in April 2019, the last “normal” year before the pandemic interruption. The recently-released analysis also showed that consumers spent more on barbecue products in April this year than the prior month as they quickly warmed up to outdoor cooking season.

As for what they’re putting on the grill, the stalwarts of burgers and hot dogs remain, but top growing categories in the past year include seafood, chicken and vegetables and meat alternatives. According to findings from NCS, seafood grew by 44% last summer compared to 2019, a faster clip than growth for chicken and meats.

"Judging by the continued growth over the past year, we expect seafood to have another strong season as we approach Memorial Day Weekend 2021, one of the biggest weekends of the year for spending on CPG items," said Linda Dupree, CEO at NCS.

In addition to barbecue fare and supplies like charcoal and paper goods, spending for other outdoor essentials is ramping up early this year. Sales of items like coolers, suntan products and garden and patio supplies climbed 19% from March to April.  The arrival of summer is also portended with upticks in sales of ready-to-drink cocktails, energy drinks and healthy seltzers.

In general, the NCS findings indicate that consumers are still spending on grocery items as the COVID-19 impact wanes.  Although household grocery expenditures dipped 7% from April 2020 to April 2021, this year’s spend is 12% higher than pre-pandemic 2019.

With offices in New York, Chicago, Cincinnati and Tampa, Florida, NCSolutions provides expert insights based on buyer behavior to better connect brands with buyers.