Grilling Season Gives Beef a Retail Boost

Drovers TV 07/05/18
Veggie burgers are cooked over a flame on a grill in Greenwich, Connecticut, U.S., on June 26, 2017.

The 4th of July holiday has passed and with it one of the summer’s largest grilling celebrations. It is also a time when beef sees a boost in grocery sales.

When summer comes around action at the meat counter starts to pick up, says Kris Staaf, director of public affairs at Albertson/Safeway’s Denver Division.

Albertson/Safeway stores have a lot of competition for protein with seafood housing a large selection and chicken being popular with customers because of price. “Our customers are looking for flexibility and variety,” Staaf says. But when grilling season starts the protein preference moves in one direction. “During the summer we see a lot of customers doing a lot of barbecuing with beef.”

Middle meats like tenderloins have been popular items during grilling season, but Staaf says a lot of what people look at depends on what is on sale.

Hotdogs and hamburgers are a few products that pickup even more steam as the summer goes on says Andrew P. Griffith, economists at the University of Tennessee.

“The apex in the beef cutout came just prior to the Memorial weekend holiday and was closely followed by Father’s Day which continued supporting the market,” Griffith writes in his weekly Market Highlights column. “Independence Day also tends to support the beef market as a grilling holiday, but the focus on middle meats declines slightly as many consumers focus on hotdogs and hamburgers.”

Middle meats get extra attention at Albertson/Safeway in Colorado because the stores have butchers who cut up the meat in-house.

If a customer comes in asking for recommendations or seeking a particular thickness of steak the butchers can help them out with their requests.

“It is great to have that local butcher there to give some guidance to the customer, not only on cuts but on seasoning and how to prepare that cut of beef,” Staaf says.

Staaf adds that having those conversations with consumers at the meat case helps increase their comfort level with being able to prepare an excellent eating experience at home. 

Hear more of Staaf’s comments about grilling season and beef demand in the video above.