With the summer weather showing its face, that also means grilling season has commenced. While many customers are heading outside to cook, whether it’s the park or the porch, not everyone has time to embrace the barbecue with their busy work schedule. That’s where the prepared food department at your local grocery store can fill the void. However, your standard meats alone do not satisfy the evolving tastes of the modern eater.
If there are food options that will always be crowd-pleasers, burgers and chicken will maintain their popularity. According to a report by Packaged Facts, the meat and poultry industry will reach near $100 billion by 2021, showing both steady growth and no sign of diminishing popularity; the investment is worthwhile. Consequently, customers may be craving burgers hot off the grill or smoky barbecue chicken that is perfected by grillers when summer strikes.
Prepared food departments can emulate the grill with the right preparation and equipment. Meat grinders and patty formers can produce more than enough patties for the lunch rush. While it’s hard to beat cooking burgers the old-fashioned way, the right investment can give customers a taste of the summer with a fast and efficient method.
Besides the standard burgers and chicken, less explored meats when it comes to the grill are increasing in demand. Ashley Shick of Arizona-based grocer, Bashas’, says the seafood category continues to gain acclaim, as well as the grilling category. A major contributing factor to chicken’s improved grilling reputation was due to its health benefits over beef, which is similar to fish in its nutritional value. This is a big reason why more varieties of fish has been added to the grilling menu.
Additionally, thin meats are making their way to the barbecue. For both health conscious and adventurous consumers, thin meats may be the solution. Naturally lower in calories than their thicker counterparts, these meats offer new flavor consumers crave, especially younger ones. David O’Diam, director of retail for Certified Angus Beef LLC, says Millennials enjoy experiencing other cultures through food. With certain thin meats that are based on European cuisine, delis and grocers should look into grilling up some fresh imports.
Grilling isn’t just limited to meats. Vegetables are becoming the norm for grilling season. In an April 2017 report from the Institute of Food Technologists, grilling is most popular with millennials, who are looking at vegetarian options when not experimenting with meats. In fact, for some, it rivals the typical protein options for the grill. For older generations, grilled vegetables are still popular, being used as side dishes to the classic barbecue. Grilling vegetables to add to meals or making them the main course in prepared meals could give time-pressed millennials and baby boomers alike options they’ll truly enjoy.