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Americans grilling more, making healthy choices

Thirty-one percent of American grill owners are grilling more than they were one year ago because they’re “trying to eat healthier,”

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Thirty-one percent of American grill owners are grilling more than they were one year ago because they’re “trying to eat healthier,” according to the 19th Annual Weber GrillWatch Survey.

More than one-third (39%) of survey respondents said they are grilling leaner meats, more vegetables (38%), more poultry (34%) and more fish (22%) than they did one year ago. Six percent are grilling more meat substitutes such as veggie burgers and tofu, and 5% are grilling more fruit. Women are significantly more likely than men to grill more vegetables and fruit.

Grilling trends upward

More than half (57%) of all grill owners said they grill throughout the year. Those who use outdoor electric grills (65%), gas stand-ups (61%) and smokers most often (60%) are more likely to define their grilling season as year-round than charcoal grill owners at 53%.

For the first time, researchers asked how many hours a week Americans grill. While the overall average of all respondents was 4.4, one-third said they spend five or more hours grilling each week while 67% said they spend up to four hours. Seventy-one percent reported they fire up their grill at least once a week during their grilling season, up from 69% last year, and 47% said they fire it up “at least a few times per week” compared to 43% last year.

While 95% said they grill dinner “on a regular basis,” 37% said they grill lunch on a regular basis, and 2% grill breakfast or brunch on a regular basis.

American grill owners also reported they entertain family or friends in their home an average of 10.7 times a year — slightly more than the non-grill owner average at 9.6 times. In addition, grill owners used their grills seven out of the 10.7 times they entertained during the year.

Grill ownership results

Charcoal grill ownership continues to trend upward — 53% of grill owners said they have one, up from 50% last year and 47% in 2005. On the flip side, gas grill ownership is on the decline with 63% ownership versus 70% ownership in 2005. Ownership of smokers and outdoor electric grills has stayed relatively constant during the past two years at 17% and 6%, respectively.

While gas grills are still preferred over charcoal as the grill type used most often (56% versus 38%), the number of Americans who said they use charcoal most often has steadily increased during the last three years (38% this year versus last year’s 36% and 2005’s 32%). Twenty-three percent of respondents said they equally use both gas and charcoal.

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