A Flavorful Fourth of July

A Flavorful Fourth of July

For consumers across the U.S., the Fourth of July is an annual holiday to celebrate American pride and enjoy traditions both old and new. With the country’s increasingly diverse population, new flavors are being added to the table. Fresh foods and alcoholic beverages alike are evolving along with consumers’ expanding taste palates to bring delicious new options to celebrate the holiday.

Barbeques and the Fourth of July go hand in hand, and Americans continue to stock up on their favorite meats and seafood for the grill. Beef reigns supreme on Independence Day, with sales in the two weeks around the holiday last year exceeding $803 million. Chicken and pork round out the top three in meat, while shrimp and salmon take top marks for seafood

When looking at the sauces that are generally consumed with meat, we see flavors changing. Barbeque sauce still leads in dollar sales, with almost $43 million (for the two weeks ending July 9, 2016). However, examining growth across the category, non-traditional sauces including worcestershire, teriyaki and hot sauce lead the pack with dollar growth of 9.8%, 7.7% and 5.8%, respectively.

Fresh produce sales for the Fourth of July also show a mix of classic options with some new flavors that are spicing up the picnic table. Berries, cherries and tomatoes lead the pack for sales as Americans stock up to make their favorite pies and salads. However, produce used in fresh guacamole and salsas like avocados and pineapples also help round out the top 10.

While U.S. consumers may have varying tastes when it comes to food, one thing legal aged adults (21+) can agree on is all of these options pair well with a refreshing alcoholic beverage. And with the summer heat brought on by July temperatures comes an array of refreshing flavors. The summer of 2016 saw consumers sipping canned wines, and 2017 will see this trend and others continue along with some new flavor trends as consumers stock up for the long weekend.

Light and versatile, Rosé is perfect for long weekends in the backyard and on the patio. While Rosé only represents 1.5% of the total table wine category, it is growing at a rate unheard of in other categories. The Rosé (table) wine category is worth more than $207 million annually, growing at 53% in the 52 weeks ending April 22, 2017, and 70% alone in the four weeks ending April 22, 2017. Sparkling Rosé is also having its moment in the sun, with $139 million in annual sales and growing at 19%, more than double the total sparkling wine category’s 9% dollar growth. As the temperatures rise, Rosé is the the perfect drink to complement anything your backyard soiree has to offer.  

For those that are looking for something flavorful outside of the wine category, an abundance of flavored beers and spirits are ideal for any backyard barbeque. And flavors are stirring up sales in these categories and attracting demographic groups to alcoholic beverages that they might not typically buy otherwise. Already worth more than $2.5 billion annually, flavored malt beverages and coolers are growing at a rate more than triple the entire beer category with annual dollar sales increasing 4.9% (for the 52 weeks ending April 22, 2017). In addition, flavored spirits represent more than $1.7 billion in annual consumer purchases, with flavored vodka ($763 million), flavored whiskey ($718 million) and flavored rum ($226 million) leading the flavored spirit category. And let’s not forget hard seltzers that provide a refreshing and light alternative. As a relatively new segment, the hard seltzer category is now worth $60 million annually and is sure to grow in size through this summer.

When it comes to celebrating Independence Day, some things may never change: fireworks, barbecues and spending time with friends and family. However, as the American population evolves and becomes more multicultural, the flavors that are mixed in with classic dishes are changing—no longer are domestic beer and barbeque sauce the only offerings. As retailers and manufacturers plan ahead, their holiday strategies should consider a wide range of flavors and cultural items that will help them meet the demands of an increasingly diverse market.