Acosta Unveils 2016 Grilling Insights in Honor of National Grilling Month

Acosta’s research study indicated that grilling goes beyond traditional summer barbecues, with 61 percent of respondents saying they bring the grilling experience to the tailgate, highlighting just one way this method of cooking has gained year-round popularity.

 “Our research shows shoppers choose to grill for two primary reasons: it provides a better flavor than other cooking methods and also gives them a chance to enjoy the outdoors,” said Josh Pelham, Director of Insights & Strategy at Acosta. “This outdoor enjoyment factor, coupled with warmer weather, are likely some of the reasons why we also found almost eight in 10 grillers cook outside for key summer holidays. However, it’s the flavor factor that shows why many people are opting to grill throughout the year, even when the weather might not be as ideal.”

Acosta’s 2016 grilling survey revealed:

Summer is a popular time for grilling, but it doesn’t end there.

Beyond the summer holidays and warm-weather months, tailgating is another popular grilling occasion for U.S. shoppers.

  • Seven in 10 shopper respondents plan to grill for Labor Day, the unofficial end to the summer season.
  • Sixty-nine percent of respondents grill eight or more months of the year.
  • Of the 61 percent of grillers who tailgate, 29 percent tailgate grill at a sports stadium or arena, while 40 percent grill at home for sporting events, showing the tailgating experience is not limited to the site of the game.

Tailgate grillers get warmed up for the big game by menu planning.

Before firing up the grill for a big game, tailgate grillers do some advance legwork to feed fellow fans.

  • Tailgaters base their menu and food selection on several factors, including personal preference/tastes (75 percent); the amount of effort to prepare the food (57 percent); and the amount of time to prepare the food (55 percent).
  • Grillers purchase the foods and ingredients for their tailgates at mass merchandisers (35 percent); local grocery stores (35 percent); and club stores (14 percent).

Hungry sports fans have a variety of menu options.

Forty-six percent of grillers who tailgate grill hamburgers, while 45 percent grill hot dogs/sausage links. To accompany these grilled meats, the most popular side dishes are:

  • Chips, pretzels and other salty snacks (67 percent)
  • Dips/cheese dips (52 percent)
  • Vegetables/veggie trays (51 percent)
  • Salads (51 percent)
  • Desserts/treats (49 percent)
  • Salsas (47 percent)
  • Chicken wings (45 percent)
  • Fruit/fruit trays (44 percent)
  • Macaroni and cheese (41 percent)

“Tailgate grilling – either at the stadium or at home – provides a unique cooking experience, and also menu versatility,” Pelham said. “Retailers and brands should keep these occasions and foods in mind when developing seasonal displays and creating meal solutions for shoppers.”

Acosta’s 2016 grilling research was completed via an online survey of the company’s custom shopper community panel. To access other Acosta research and insight reports, as well as actionable solutions for brands and retailers, visit

About Acosta

Acosta is the sales and marketing powerhouse behind most of the trusted brands seen in stores every day. The company provides a range of outsourced sales, marketing and retail merchandising services throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more than 85 years, Acosta has led the industry in helping consumer packaged goods companies move products off shelves and into shoppers’ baskets. For more information, visit


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Allie Artur, 610-455-2760