Jason Kelce's New Job? King Of The Grill


Kingsford thinks it's a short walk from the National Football League to a backyard barbecue. The leading charcoal brand has tapped Jason Kelce, the recently retired NFL star, as its latest “King of the Grill.” And in a fun spot to introduce him to grill fans, they partner him up with meat mentor Vince Wilfork, and the two show off what it takes to win on the patio: shirtless overalls, and plenty of grilling patience.

Kingsford sponsored Wilfork’s retirement in 2017, “championing a lifestyle centered around quality moments with loved ones around the grill,” the company says in the announcement. “Now, it's Jason's turn to step up to the coals.”

The campaign, which kicks off with a video, will include some friendly competition and recipes.



It's actually a tough time for BBQ fans. Kingsford, owned by Clorox, saw sales increase in the latest quarter, which Clorox attributed to strong early-season merchandising. But sales of grills themselves continue to struggle.

While Americans couldn’t get enough gas and charcoal grills in the early days of the pandemic, sales have continued to decline since 2022. Experts attribute some of that to high meat prices and economic uncertainty: Why spend $300 on a new gas grill if you think the old one can limp through another season or two?

Grill sales at Traeger, for example, dropped 14% to $77 million in the latest quarter, and the Salt Lake City-based company expects sales to continue to contract for the remainder of the year. And Weber Grills, which was recently taken private, got a “less than adequate” rating earlier this year from S&P Global, which noted the possibility of default.

“We expect consumer demand for durables will remain weak in 2024,” writes S&P. “We believe Weber's revenue growth in 2024 will be primarily driven by better retailer replenishment patterns and a stabilization in consumer demand, but we do not expect a material rebound. We do not anticipate revenues will return to pre-COVID-19 levels in 2024. Weaker-than-expected consumer demand could further pressure the company's already distressed credit metrics, as reflected by our negative outlook.”

But downbeat trends in grilling equipment aren’t likely to keep America away from its burgers, hot dogs and ribs. The National Retail Federation reports that 87% of the consumers it surveyed plan to celebrate the day somehow, and for 66%, that means a BBQ. The NRF reports people will spend an average of $90.42 on food items. (Walmart is advertising a complete Independence Day cookout basket for eight, priced at less than $50.)

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