Product Focus: Perfect Food Products for Grilling Season

As consumers make plans to break the grill out of its winter nesting spot, food processors are coming up with sizzling new products.

The barbecue industry will be sizzling in 2016, according to a new survey commissioned by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Assn., which reveals consumers plan to barbecue more as well as purchase new grills and smokers in the coming months. More than a third (37 percent) of U.S. adults surveyed plan to purchase a new grill or smoker in 2016, while 30 percent of current owners plan to grill with greater frequency.

By a large majority (71 percent), improved flavor is the main reason owners cook with their grills and smokers. 54 percent of consumers surveyed cook for personal enjoyment, followed by entertaining family and friends (42 percent), convenience (32 percent) and experimentation (23 percent). Beyond holidays (see infographic), 55 percent barbecued for birthday parties, 24 percent on camping trips and 14 percent during tailgating activities for sporting events.

61 percent of grill owners enjoy using their grill or smoker year-round, with 43 percent cooking at least once a month in the winter months. They are constantly looking to learn new barbecuing skills and broaden their techniques in order to grill with greater frequency. New recipes and short-cut meats and sides are embraced, with 11 percent of those surveyed looking for foods to grill for breakfast.

Our national pastime for gathering around the grill is not only strong but also showing all indications that the passion will increase in the months and years ahead.

– Jack Goldman, Patio & Barbecue Association

On the Menu this summer:

Quick and Easy 

“Refrigerated dinner sausages are a high-growth category, and consumers are looking for products offering leaner protein and adventurous flavors,” says Sara Danforth, new product development manager of GNP Co. In response, the company is launching a line of fully cooked artisan chicken sausages under its Gold’n Plump brand. The new offering packs the goodness of chicken into sausages that can quickly and safely be thrown on the grill for a convenient meal. The five varieties are: Bacon Gouda, Hickory Smoked Apple, Italian Cheese & Peppers, Jalapeno Cheddar and Spinach & Asiago. Each 12-oz. package includes four 3-oz. links and has a suggested retail price of $5.99.

Hawaiian-Inspired BBQ Sauces 

King’s Hawaiian ventures beyond the bread aisle with a new line of four Hawaiian-inspired barbecue sauces. Original Sweet Pineapple pairs tangy barbecue zest and sweet pineapple. Smoked Bacon is made with chunks of rich smoky bacon in a tangy sweet sauce. Big Island Lava is all about the heat and includes the boldness of red jalapeños, traditional island spices and a hint of sweetness. Kona Coffee is tangy sauce with real Kona coffee, which is said to enhance the natural flavors of barbecued meat. It is a true chef’s choice, according to the company.

Better-for-You Coleslaw

Coleslaw conjures up memories of barbeques, picnics and warm days filled with family and friends. To make this coleslaw season big on taste but low in calories, Litehouse Foods is introducing Opa by Litehouse Coleslaw. Using creamy Greek yogurt as a base provides twice the protein and 45 percent fewer calories than traditional coleslaw dressings. The product joins the existing Opa dressing line, which comes in flavors such as Blue Cheese, Caesar, Feta Dill, Ranch, Jalapeno Ranch, Kalamata Feta and Roasted Pepper. The 11-oz. jar has a suggested retail price of $4.49.

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