Beef’s Starring Role in Summer Grilling Season

June 15, 2020

Beef Lifestyle_on Grill

This year’s Summer Grilling Season is assured to be different than any grilling season we have ever seen. While social distancing restrictions may shrink the size of backyard get togethers, gathering around the grill and good food will continue to be signature summer moments. When it comes to grilling good food, beef is top of mind, as shoppers say beef is frequently their top grilling season protein.1

Grilling season is defined as the 15-week period bookended by Memorial Day and Labor Day. Grills and smokers lure people out of their hot houses during the season, which also includes two additional holidays associated with cooking outdoors: Father’s Day and Independence Day. All four of these holidays spur spikes in beef sales, relative to the already elevated level of summer beef sales.2

Retailers already know that beef is good for their bottom lines, as baskets with beef are valued at twice the average basket and are worth more than baskets with chicken or beef substitutes.3 This doesn’t just support the meat department; it increases stores’ overall sales, as beef shoppers spend more on non-meat items than those who purchase other proteins. The summer kicks this up a notch, as a typical week during the grilling season sees steak sales 10% higher than the average week.4 Those sales stats reinforce shopper sentiment, as more consumers report eating steak weekly during the summer months than the rest of the year.

So, which steaks are sizzling on most shoppers’ grills? Middle meats are typically the best sellers in a more typical year like 2019. Last year’s top five steaks by dollar sales were Ribeye Steak, Strip Steak, Tenderloin Steak, T-Bone Steak and Top Sirloin Steak.4

Steak isn’t the only beef beneficiary of grilling’s popularity; last year saw more than $3.5 billion in ground beef sales, contributing towards beef’s $8.5 billion in summer sales.6

  1. Google Consumer Surveys: Proteins likely to grill or eat on Labor Day weekend, August 25, 2016.
  2. IRI/Freshlook, Total US MULO ending 8/25/19; Categorized by VMMeat System
  3. IRI Panel Data, All Outlets, 52 weeks ending 1/6/19, Market Basket Study, February 2019.
  4. IRI/Freshlook, Total US MULO ending 8/25/19; Categorized by VMMeat System
  5. IRI/Freshlook, Total US MULO ending 8/25/19; Categorized by VMMeat System
  6. IRI/Freshlook, Total US MULO ending 8/25/19; Categorized by VMMeat System