- With the Fourth of July approaching, grocers can expect to see some fireworks when it comes to sales. A new survey from the National Retail Federation finds 86% of Americans plan to celebrate the holiday and are expected to spend about $6.7 billion on food items.
- The survey found the expected spending for food this year will drop to $73.33 per person, down from $75.35 per person in 2018. Cookouts, barbecues and picnics are the most popular way to celebrate the holiday for 61% of consumers.
- About 94% of 18 to 24 years olds plan to celebrate the Fourth of July, while only 81% of those 65 and older do. Regionally, most celebrants hail from the South (88%) followed by the Midwest (87%), Northeast (85%) and West (83%).
For many people, the Fourth of July is synonymous with eating outside. Many Americans will be firing up the grill as part of their celebration, but recent changes in Americans’ eating preferences and a focus on wellness may bring new foods to the table this week. While the glory days of a hot dog and a beer may not be over, the Fourth of July food plate is evolving as more Americans explore different foods and embrace new trends.
According to Nielsen data shared with Grocery Dive, Americans spent $631 million on fresh beef, $100 million on hot dogs and $124 million on sausages in 2018. However, meat alternatives are growing in popularity. Last year, Americans spent $10 million on fully cooked, plant-based meat alternatives and $315 million on fresh ones. According to a December 2018 survey, Nielsen found that 61% of consumers are willing to cut back on meat consumption to alter its effect on climate change.
The good news for shoppers looking for alternatives to traditional cookout food is that companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have become mainstream and added more variety to store shelves.
Before Memorial Day, Nielsen noted that 2019 would be the summer of alternatives. In addition to plant-based products, hard seltzers (+193%) and kombucha (247.3%) are poised for huge growth while beer sales, in particular, are staying flat. That’s in line with the 1.6% decline in beer sales and 2.5% decline in craft beer sales in 2018, though consumers still spent $800 million on beer. Fourth of July week should be a boon for hard cider, hard seltzers and canned wines, and grocers should plan for products that play into new consumer tastes.
American palates are also increasingly interested in culturally diverse flavors. Nielsen found that this trend extended to condiments in 2018, giving traditional mustard and ketchup some competition. Asian condiments netted nearly 18% dollar sales growth in 2018, and Latino condiments grew 8.2%.
Grocers have been offering more products of Hispanic, Asian and Middle Eastern origins, and adding holiday promotions or serving suggestions that highlight some of these products will showcase the category to shoppers.