Grilling up the Five Food Groups

As grills fire up across the country and we prepare for Memorial Day Weekend to officially kick off grilling season, I started thinking about all the delicious things we’re going to be eating from the grill. Lean cuts of meat are obvious, but did you know that you can work every food group onto the grill? Here are some ideas to cross merchandise to inspire our customers while enhancing nutrition and taste.

Fruit. Grill peach, plum, or nectarine halves (with stone removed). The natural sugars found in fruit caramelize with the heat of the grill so no added sugar is needed. Suggest serving with a scoop of ice cream. Show a grill next to your melon display (unlit, of course) or stack melons and stone fruits near the meat case.

Vegetables. From kabobs to wedges of zucchini to hearts of romaine, these can be main dish delicious or side dish spectacular. Pre-make kabobs with fruits and veggies or cubes of meat and veggies for a “grab and grill” option. Post a picture of veggies on the grill on Facebook to get shoppers excited!

Dairy. Yogurt makes a surprising addition to marinades and makes a juicy, flavorful dish. A slice of cheese on a hamburger or veggie burger melted before removing from the grill adds flavor. Try different cheeses for a simple way to keep a basic burger interesting all summer long.

Lean protein. Poultry, seafood, and meat are great on the grill, but don’t forget that eggs, beans, and peanut butter are part of the protein group. A grill-safe pot of beans on the stove is a great side, or highlight an Asian-themed flavor with a peanut sauce to go with chicken. Omelets and breakfast burritos are also great solutions for camping customers.

Grains. Here it can be as simple as grilling the bun before adding the burger or serving S’mores for dessert. Merchandise items that are needed together, and set it up as an event, including those things needed for a successful backyard “staycation” camping event.

Help customers enjoy their grilling menus more than ever with some simple displays, and you’ll be the talk of the barbecue season.

This was originally written for IGA retailers.