No matter the climate one lives in, the love of gathering to grill is shared from Portland, Maine to Portland, Oregon. That desire to get by the fire has only grown following the stay-at-home orders from the early onset of the COVID pandemic according to Rich Prast, sales team leader for Clorox’s wholesale, military, and natural channel, which includes Kingsford charcoal. Prast spoke with IGA’s Heidi Huff, vice president of business partnerships, in a video interview about how independent retailers can make the most of the grilling category.
Grocers no longer have to sit back and wait for the major spikes to market backyard grilling to their shoppers—the spike in sales can come all 52 weeks of the year.
“People are all about the flavor, and the fat—as it cooks off the meat—renders and falls into the coal. That floats back up into the meat and sears in, giving you that extra flavor for chicken, beef, or other proteins,” says Prast.
Clorox has outlined the principles a grocer should follow to promote a successful grilling category.
- Treat grilling as a year-round business.
Barbecues don’t need to be treated as seasonal anymore. There’s no need to hide the charcoal from January through March or October through December, depending on your climate. Remind the shopper that you are always in business with this category and stay in stock.
- Link charcoal to the perimeter.
Offer multiple displays near the meat, produce, or beer and wine departments. Have printed and digital links to recipes—from the brand or from IGA’s Family Meals Made Easy! program—available to inspire customers. In Kingsford’s case, it doesn’t have to be on sale for people to buy it.
- Keep the top grilling holidays in mind.
It’s still vital to keep in mind that four of the five top grilling holidays (including Mother’s Day and Father’s Day) happen between January and July 4. 50 percent more grocery shoppers grill at this time.
Fire Needs Fuel
The grilling category itself has evolved exponentially in the last 15 years, and the options of how to prepare proteins have expanded to suit various experiences.
Consumers these days are no longer limited to traditional charcoal, Prast says. These are the four different forms of wood-based fuel:
- Briquets. The uniform charred wood briquets can be used for various cooking methods on charcoal grills.
- Lump. This charred wood comes in various shapes and sizes. It serves multiple cooking methods and can be used in charcoal and ceramic grills as well.
- Pellets. This is compressed hardwood for cooking in pellet grills. They can also be used as a flavor additive on charcoal and gas grills.
- Chips and chunks. Pieces of pure wood that can be added to charcoal, gas, and grills for extra smoke flavor. “You can cook with them but it’s mostly for flavor and smoking,” Prast says.
Pellet has been the largest growing segment of the business for the last several years. Prast says this is because Traeger Grills’ patent wore off, giving the opportunity for other companies to step in and allowing more affordability.
Kingsford has taken their grilling fuels a step further with its new signature flavors:
- A pre-mix charcoal with flavor boosters (briquets).
- Wood pellets with spices embedded within.
- Flavor booster briquets.
These new grill additions come in three different flavors: garlic, onion, and paprika; basil sage; and cumin chili.
How Can Retailers Engage on the Shelves?
Prast says that 9 out of 10 households have a Clorox product. “We’re in a healthy position. Our brands are at an all-time high in terms of demand. Some of our brands have hit an all-time household penetration,” he says.
Kingsford has provided a layout on displaying how each of its products, along with its iconic blue and white bag, plays a unique role in its grilling portfolio. They can offer that advice on how to restore the shelf, no matter what amount of space for assortment.
“We have to get the shelf back to what it looked like prior to COVID. Or frankly even better than COVID,” Prast says. “Because I don’t think we were all the way there, until the pandemic hit.”
The grilling experience is one that can’t be replicated with propane, according to Prast. The game has changed in grilling, and Kingsford offers a wide variety of products and cooking styles to serve various occasions and consumer needs. The opportunity is here to get in business year-round.
Would you like customized advice from Kingsford on maximizing the impact of your grilling category selections? Fill out the form below and they will contact you directly.
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