Selling Summer Meals
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Summer is here and your customers will be on the lookout for easy recipes that keep them out of the kitchen and enjoying the outdoors. From road trips, to camping to grilling, make your store the destination spot for simple, nourishing summer meal ideas.
- Camping cuisine. The 2021 North American Camping Report stated that camping grew by a record 3.9 million households in 2020 and many of the first-time and seasoned campers are looking for recipes to help them eat well in the woods. Offer simple ideas using ready-to-cook foods from your store including meat and veggie kabobs or seasoned burgers. Include a few cost-effective skillet ideas and breakfast or dessert recipes for the campfire. Foil pack recipes are also very popular. Set up a camping cuisine display in your store with heavy duty foil, tongs, recipe cards, seasonings, and ingredients to drive sales and/or create recipe demos on social media or your local TV station.
- Fire up the grill. Team up with your state Beef Council and highlight local summer produce and beef for healthy pairings on the grill. Emphasize sustainability, support for local growers, and affordability, along with the key nutrients these nourishing foods provide to complement each other. Post signage in the produce and meat departments with tips on grilling produce and display some fruits and vegetables that can be grilled alongside steaks or burgers or served as a cool, refreshing side to complement a hot, grilled-to-perfection steak. Offer shoppers a summer calendar for grilling that features local produce items like zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, potatoes, onions, peppers, etc., with links to recipes like these: Beef Strip Steaks with Balsamic Grilled Vegetables and Grilled Steak and Watermelon Salad.
- Fuel for the road. Help customers steer clear of empty calorie snacks and fast-food chains while they are on the road this summer by creating a shopping list of nourishing, portable snacks from your store(s). These might include popcorn, beef jerky, pre-cut fruits and veggies, mini hummus cups, string cheese, granola bars, nuts/seeds, trail mix and dried fruit. Include a list of beverages as well. Create a blog post and instore endcap with products and small coolers or highlight a curated bundle on eCommerce for online shoppers.
- Omit the oven. When it’s 100°F outside, the last thing anyone wants to do is turn on the oven. When the heat is on, help your shoppers by providing meal solutions that require minimal cooking but maximum taste and nutrition. Consider wrap sandwiches with canned fish or meat combined with a salad mix for a crunching filling, cold pasta salads, or a variety of easy ways to use shredded rotisserie chicken – from tacos to salads. You can include ideas using a skillet, Instant Pot, slow cooker or no-cook options that just need assembly. Feature social media series of quick videos or highlight meal solutions with social posts during your local heat wave. Your customers will thank you for helping them keep cool!