Millennial buying habits raise spending on backyard barbecues: Report

Millennial buying habits raise spending on backyard barbecues: Report

Millennial tastes for premium products add to the cost of the typical summer barbecue, according to a new report from Rabobank.

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Rabobank estimates a typical barbecue for 10 people will cost $69.05 this July 4. Rabobank’s “Millennial” barbecue estimate is 73% higher.

“We’re seeing some really fascinating trends when it comes to consumer purchase preferences among Millennials,” Ross Colbert, head of food and agribusiness research at Rabobank, said in a press release. “Knowing the age group’s partialities to food labels such as organic, local, free-range, and artisanal, for a party of 10, the Millennial host is averaging $11.91 per guest, or just over $119 total. The discrepancy between the two barbeques is enormous.”

Rabobank calculates the cost of the barbecue based on a set menu for 10 adults. Each person is estimated to consume two burgers (one chicken, one beef) with a slice of cheese, five handfuls of chips, two beers, a can of soda, a pickle and three scoops of ice cream. The “Millennial” barbecue comprises 10 adults aged 21-34.


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Higher prices for grass-fed beef and European cheese over conventional items in particular added to the bottom line of Rabobank's Millennial barbecue. Grass-fed beef costs $9.99 per pound compared to $3.82 per pound for conventional, while Rabobank puts upscale cheese at $12.99 per pound vs. $4.43 per conventional.

In addition, while overall beef prices are down 9.8% compared to last year’s prices, grass-fed beef increased $1 per pound in 2016.

Millennials are also expected to pay $5.59 per pound for organic and free-range chicken, vs. $3.25 per pound for conventional. Overall chicken prices are down 7.2% from 2015.

“The $200 billion spending power of the Millennial generation — which just this year has surpassed Boomers as the largest generation — is proving to be very disruptive,” said Nick Fereday, executive director, food & consumer trends at Rabobank. “Although they’re a diverse multicultural cohort, a few generalizations still ring true: They’re more experimental in their food and beverage choices, health conscious (seeking fewer processed foods), and they also appear to be willing to spend a greater share of their income on food.”

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