It’s no secret that many younger people think of cooking as a form of self-expression and socialization. In recent years “foodies” have embraced grilling to enjoy the outdoors and have fun with friends. Although people typically fire up grills from late spring to early autumn, adventurous cooks extend the season into the winter months. Grills are now essentials that are upgraded when homeowners make improvements and plan to entertain guests in style.
Grilling is a Rewarding Experience
Millennial and Gen Z Consumers see grilling as an experience that lets them live their best lives. Selecting grills and smokers that elevate the flavors of meats, vegetables, and plant-based options prompts young cooks to build a personal brand by experimenting with various sauces and spices. The renewed interest in grilling offers retailers the perfect opportunity to expand into a new category or diversify their current product assortments to fit into consumers’ evolving lifestyles.
4 Ways to Build a Grill Niche Business
Offering a sizzling assortment of grills, accessories, and sauces taps into a growing trend of delivering services that exceed customers’ expectations. Shoppers are motivated to make a trip to the store when they can look forward to an enjoyable experience. Customers appreciate clever visual displays, quality products, and interacting with knowledgeable sales associates.
While gas (61 percent) and charcoal grills (49 percent) are two-thirds of the units sold, pellet grills (18 percent) are rapidly growing in popularity. Although the price may be the primary consideration for beginners, enthusiasts who trade up to high-end grills focus on quality, convenience, and unique features. Shoppers want options that range from portable grills for use at the beach or tailgating and larger models suitable for entertaining a crowd.
According to the NPD Group, almost 13 million accessories were sold during the last six months in 2021—a 4 percent increase from the previous year. However, the most significant gain occurred in the 4th quarter which gained 6 percent in units and 9 percent in revenue. “Charcoal, propane, and wood pellets were the top grill fuels in 2021, but pellets contributed the most to the fuels segment, with a 17 percent increase in annual revenue.
Cooks like to experiment with new things and have fun while shopping. Adding specialty sauces and rubs to the product assortment entices customers to make a memorable trip and gives everyone something extra to look forward to the next time they visit the store. Using the right sauces and rubs for grillers is an essential ingredient for the perfect barbecue. Gen Z prefers sauces with natural ingredients, sugar-free varieties, and non-GMO products.
Building a loyal following of customers requires ongoing communication to keep them in the loop about new products or upcoming events. Rather than using a hard-sell approach, try a narrative style that shares exciting facts about grills, tools, or sauces that customers may not already know. These communications are a great way to build connections with younger consumers without holding a sale.
The Grill Category is a Growing Business
Consumers have made it clear that grilling is much more than a summer activity that peaks on the 4th of July. In 2021, grilling was more evenly spread out throughout the year. “Convenient and time-efficient grill options are fulfilling both new and lingering consumer needs, both at home and away, says Joe Derochowski, home industry advisor at NPD Group. “The grilling industry can keep growing if it continues to communicate a broad range of consumer benefits, provide options for consumers to maximize their recent grill investments, and amplify the current excitement around grilling.”