Retailing Beef This Summer? Here are the Best Grilling Cuts to Offer This Season (Plus How to Promote Them)
Aug 12, 2022
Grilling season is in full swing, and with it, opportunities for boosting beef and grocery sales throughout your store. This year’s grilling season was off to a slow start in May, which IRi speculates could be due to continued COVID-19 outbreaks and inflation. Many grocery stores saw a dip in volume sales across traditionally high-performing grilling cuts, such as frankfurters, pork dinner sausage, beef loin, and chicken ingredient cuts.
However, since the end of May, grilling cut volume is recovering by about 4% as consumers again turn to preparing meals at home. In a survey by IRi, about 20% of respondents shared that they plan to grill more at home than last year, with 51% noting they plan to grill out the same as last year. In other words, despite the slight dip in the volume of common meat cuts for grilling, the remainder of the grilling season seems promising for meat retailers.
If you’re a retailer grappling with similar changes in consumer behaviors, striking a balance between cost savings and premium experiences will be key in reaching your sales goals this season. We’ll share the beef cuts consumers want for their grills this year and how to set your meat department up for success.
1. Best Cut of Beef to Grill for Cost Savings: Ground Beef
Classic and versatile, ground beef is a staple you’ll want to stock up on this summer. It’s perfect for small and large gatherings alike, and it’s hard to pass up a good burger. Burgers aren’t the only option for the grill—taco meat, Salisbury steak, and crafty dishes like burger and veggie foil packs are all delicious and can help your customers realize savings.
Despite price increases across industries, consumers still seek out claims-based beef and USDA Prime and Choice products. For ground beef, customers are most interested in no antibiotics/added hormones and USDA Choice claims. While customers may want to cut back on expensive purchases, they’re willing to opt for the premium option when it comes to ground beef. Offering options with claims like Natural Angus Ground Beef helps you deliver the mouthwatering experience customers are looking for—and shows that you value their preferences.
2. Best Cut of Steak for Charcoal Grilling: New York Strip
Any steak is delicious on the grill, but we have a penchant for New York strip—and, with its robust beefy flavors and the perfect amount of tenderness, your shoppers will too. Strip steaks are equally delicious on an electric or charcoal grill, but charcoal is ideal for shoppers looking for that unique, smoky flavor that’s excellent for recipes like Caprese Grilled New York Strip Sandwich with Balsamic Glaze.
While Ribeye and Sirloin are the most common choices for consumers, marketing New York Strip as a grilling choice can give practiced grillers something new to try. Of the consumers surveyed by IRi who are planning to grill more this summer, 37% want to try something new. Offering promotions, exclusive recipes, or on-package messaging can help you meet the demand of these consumers.
Pro-tip: Share relevant educational content on how to prepare steak on the grill to reduce a common barrier to buying new beef cuts—and help boost your shoppers’ confidence.
3. Ribeye: A King Cut for Any Grill-Out
High marbling and rich, buttery flavors have earned the Ribeye a spot in the top 10 grilling cuts in retail for the past three years. A favorite among existing steak enthusiasts and forgiving to more inexperienced home cooks, Ribeye is a must-have cut for your meat department (even beyond grilling season). Encourage your shoppers to grill Ribeye steak as a “treat yourself” dinner, for date night, or to celebrate a special occasion. You can also suggest this recipe for grilled Ribeye steak kabobs if shoppers want to wow a larger party.
4. Beef Tenderloin on the Grill: Good for Gatherings
Consumers might associate Filet Mignon with fine dining, but it makes for the same fork-tender experience prepared on home grills. Carrying Filet Mignon and whole beef tenderloin helps you meet consumer demand for excellent, healthy beef products. Beef tenderloin is shareable and offers easy portion control, making it convenient for customers hosting larger gatherings and seeking a more premium cut. Share content on the difference between Filet Mignon and beef tenderloin (and how to portion beef tenderloin) to direct customers to one of the best steak cuts for grilling.
5. Top Sirloin: Offer for Steak or Kabobs on the Grill
Top sirloin is a valuable cut for your meat case—whether you want to create value-added options like pre-made kabobs or offer it as a whole steak, this cut won’t disappoint your shoppers. With a lower price point than more highly marbled cuts, such as Ribeye or New York Strip, offering top sirloin creates an opportunity for you to reach consumers who might not splurge on higher-priced steaks. Providing ideas for sides, wine pairings, or desserts can help you deliver a memorable meal while achieving sales throughout your store. You can also provide meal kits to give shoppers an easy, ready-to-grill option.
Promoting the Best Beef Cuts for Grilling: Ways to Boost Profits at Your Store
While the best meat cuts for grilling tend to sell themselves, you can foster consumer loyalty and set up your meat department to thrive in several ways. Educating your shoppers and sharing recipe ideas are important ways to garner that loyalty and consumer confidence. You’ll also want to ensure a strategic approach—create or share content on cuts with the highest sales margin (or underperforming cuts) to drive customers toward the products you’d like to sell. Offer tips on how to prepare various cuts of beef, grilling guidelines, or common FAQs. Aspen Ridge Natural Angus Beef provides many of these resources for free, including cooking tips, recipes, and meal inspiration.
Beyond marketing and consumer education, you can boost basket totals by providing easy access to other products that help make the meal. Advertise side dishes and marinade ideas and place them nearby (or offer them as a package). Consider adding grilling planks to steaks in your meat case or carry a variety of charcoal options. If you sell grilling equipment, include recipe ideas nearby.
Learn More About Increasing Specialty Beef Sales at Your Store
Want other marketing tips for your meat case this season? At Aspen Ridge, we provide our retail partners with assets that illustrate our products’ story and key attributes—selling points customers are increasingly looking for as they become more attuned to where their food comes from. From publishing the latest industry insights to practical ideas on reducing food waste in your store, Aspen Ridge is interested in being a strategic partner that helps your bottom line. Read the Aspen Ridge consumer blog or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to download materials for educating your consumers about Natural Angus Beef. You can also download our retailer case study for more information on how one retailer used strategic marketing support to bolster specialty beef sales.
 According to proprietary research conducted for JBS beef, 2020-2021.