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    Year Round Grilling at All-Time High: Study

    Gas grill ownership is also up, but men still grill more than women, according to research from NPD.

    BBQ grilling is no longer just a summertime activity, as an increasing number of Americans fire up their grills year round, according to market research firm The NPD Group.

    NPD said its 22nd annual "Eating Patterns in America" report revealed that outdoor grill use in America is at an all-time high, nearly twice what it was 20 years ago. In 1985, 17 percent of households used a grill at dinner at least once during an average two-week period throughout the year; in 2007, that portion had risen to 38 percent.

    "While summer still accounts for the highest consumption levels of grilled food, grilling has increased the most in the other seasons of the year," says Harry Balzer, v.p. at NPD and author of the report.

    Not surprisingly, this increase in year round grilling coincides with the increased ownership of gas grills, according to Balzer. The majority of households have an outdoor grill (76 percent) and the grill of choice is one that uses gas -- 75 percent of grill owners have a gas grill.

    In 2007, NPD estimates grill sales grew by 3.2 percent (unit sales) over 2006. "Grills and other outdoor living products continue to be a bright spot in an otherwise challenging market," says Mark Delaney, director of NPD's Home industry sector. "There's a BBQ grill designed to fit the needs and budget of every consumer, helping to make this category the most popular outdoor entertaining item owned."

    Balzer also attributes the steady rise in grilling, with the increasing number of men cooking at home. "This is the one cooking appliance men are more likely to use than any other appliance in the home," he said.

    True to the stereotype, grilling remains a largely man's task. According to the report, 41 percent of men say they always do the grilling, while only 17 percent of women do.

    "There is no doubt we are a nation of grillers," commented Balzer. "It's convenient, saves time, tastes good, and, perhaps most important to women, the man does it."

    Top Ten Foods Grilled
    -1. Burgers (any, with or without bun)
    - 2. Steak
    - 3. Chicken
    - 4. Hot Dogs
    - 5. Pork Chops
    - 6. Potatoes
    - 7. Vegetables
    - 8. Other Pork Cuts
    - 9. Sausage
    - 10. Seafood

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