Grilling Is Now A Year-Round Undertaking, NPD Finds

man grillingThe boom in cook-at-home dads and the advent of outdoor kitchens has taken grilling beyond summer. According to the Port Washington, NY-based market research firm The NPD Group, firing up the grill is now a four-season activity.

The findings, part of NPD's 22nd annual "Eating Patterns in America" report, track sales and ownership. The majority of households--76% per NPD--now have an outdoor grill, with 75% of them using a gas-fired grill.

In 2007, NPD estimates, grill sales grew by 3.2% (unit sales) from the previous year. The firm says sales are at an all-time high, nearly double what they were 20 years ago. Per NPD, in 1985, 17% of households used a grill at dinner at least once during an average two-week period throughout the year; in 2007, it was 38%.

"While summer still accounts for the highest consumption levels of grilled food, grilling has increased the most in the other seasons of the year," says Harry Balzer, vice president at NPD and author of the firm's report.



Mark Delaney, director of NPD's Home industry sector, says the variety of products available and sophistication of cooking technology means "there's a BBQ grill designed to fit the needs and budget of every consumer, helping to make this category the most popular outdoor entertaining item owned."

Balzer says the increased numbers are driven by growing numbers of men cooking at home. "This is the one cooking appliance men are more likely to use than any other appliance in the home," he says.

According to NPD's latest data, 41% of men say they always do the grilling, while only 17% of women say they always do the grilling.

Grilling is not conducive to the tofu lifestyle. The firm says the top ten food items grilled are, in order, burgers, steak, chicken, hot dogs, pork chops, potatoes, vegetables, pork, sausage and seafood.

Relatedly, Sara Lee North America says it sold 6.4 million packages of buns for Memorial Day Weekend 2007.Sara > Lee launched its first Soft & Smooth bread back in 2005, and new Sara Lee > Soft & Smooth Wheat Made with Whole Grain Buns are a new product under the > Soft & Smooth product portfolio.

Sara Lee reports that more than half of the total bun sales occur between the April and September. The company says 9.78 million packages of Sara Lee hot dog buns were sold last year, versus 7.3 million packages of hamburger buns.

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