From Mesquite to Cedar Planked—Kerry Gets It

Sunday 12 March, 2017

BBQ methods are vast and trending. Kerry has a deep understanding of consumers’ needs, an appreciation of the BBQ process and an intimate knowledge of how the cut of meat, sauce style and preparation method are intertwined.
 

BBQ means a lot of different things to different people. In Alabama, BBQ means charred chicken smothered in a white, creamy BBQ sauce. In Texas, BBQ means Pitmaster competitions with the iconic mesquite smoked and dry-rubbed briskets. In order to truly understand the nuances of BBQ and pinpoint exactly what trends may be emerging, Kerry has become a thought leader in the world of BBQ.

BBQ Cooking Methods are Trending
Smoked, grilled, roasted, toasted, chargrilled, mesquite and barbeque all are included in the top trending ‘meat flavors’ according to Mintel GNPD 2016 for new product launches. These BBQ preparation methods are emerging as flavors versus a method of cooking—showing consumers are craving those authentic and nostalgic cooking experiences. In fact, cooking methods occupy eight out of the top 20 trending new retail product launch flavors.

In addition, the cut of meat is equally as important to consumers, with different regions gravitating toward different protein sources. In the Pacific Northwest, the top trending BBQ proteins are seafood and salmon, while in the Midwest, consumers prefer steaks, pork chops and ribs (Allqdup.com). 

Add in different regional preferences for BBQ sauce styles, and the opportunities for authentic BBQ combinations are endless! Kansas City residents crave the thick, tangy sweet BBQ sauce made with tomatoes and molasses, while North Carolinians serve BBQ with a vinegar-based sauce incorporating peppers and ketchup (NRN 2016, Flavor & the Menu 2016).

The Reality
The truth is that BBQ is entrenched in American culture with 60% of Americans using their outdoor grills year-round. However, there’s a disconnect when it comes to Americans’ ability to prepare BBQ at the level they have come to expect. Google discovered that the most popular food preparation videos in 2016 were those related to American-style BBQ, and Mintel reported that Americans aged 15-24 only spend an average of 11-17 minutes daily on food preparation and clean-up activities.

Taking all of this into consideration, how do food companies capitalize on growing BBQ trends but manage to deliver authentic BBQ taste experiences for the emerging consumer that lacks home-cooking expertise?

The answer may be different for every consumer group or food brand, but with a deep understanding of consumers’ needs, an appreciation of the BBQ process and an intimate knowledge of how the cut of meat, sauce style and preparation method are intertwined—there’s a tremendous growth opportunity in delivering authentic products that offer a ‘best-in-class’ BBQ experience for today’s consumer.

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