ARLINGTON, Va., April 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Outdoor cooking remains more popular than ever, with seventy percent of Americans revealing that they prefer cooking out over eating out to save money, according to new national poll released today by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA). In fact, consumers claimed that a cookout at home is more fun and relaxing than dining out, while also beneficial for avoiding travel (58 percent), dress codes (57 percent) and crowds (56 percent).
"Outdoor cooking is a very popular pastime that unites friends and family with great tasting food that's easy and affordable," said Leslie Wheeler, HPBA Director of Communications. "Whether it's a weekday family meal on the grill or a weekend barbecue, outdoor cooking can make preparing the meal just as easy and relaxing as enjoying the delicious food with others."
In fact, 64 percent of adults say a barbecue is a better way to spend quality-time with their friends or relatives and 36 percent associated barbecues with family tradition. The sights, smells and social value of outdoor cooking are not alone; the food itself has a central role. Forty-three percent of respondents described outdoor cooking as a "sure route to a delicious meal." That's why this National Barbecue Month in May, there's no better way to celebrate than taking it outdoors and kicking off the summer season with a community cookout.
According to poll respondents, it's no secret that adults see grilling and outdoor cooking as the ticket to an easy, delicious meal and a healthier lifestyle. The majority of Americans (81 percent) acknowledged that at least one aspect of grilling outside is easier than cooking indoors, with the most convenient parts cited as cleanup (49 percent) followed by the cooking process itself (40 percent).
Not only is cooking outside fun and social, it also encourages healthier decisions for many. Seventy percent of Americans say cooking out gets them in a healthier routine, specifically by encouraging time spent outdoors instead of cooped up in the house. Outdoor cooking also encourages adults to make smarter food choices such as eating fresh rather than frozen foods (54 percent of respondents agreed) and cooking healthier food on the grill over all (40 percent agreed). Also, for one-quarter of respondents, the quick and easy nature of outdoor cooking helps them maintain a healthy lifestyle by giving them more free time to pursue other activities.
Must Have Grilling Gear
Americans keep it traditional when listing their "go-to" accessories for outdoor cooking ease, most frequently citing tongs (77 percent) and a spatula or brush (65 percent). A slightly smaller percentage (62 percent) reported that one of their go-to tricks of the trade was rubs and marinades to spice up their grilled or smoked meals. To a lesser extent, only nine percent cited "recipes" as a leading cooking companion.
"Accessories and new industry innovations are making outdoor cooking even easier," Wheeler said. "New grill pads and brushes cut down on cleaning time, or you can take outdoor cooking to the next level with new grill build-outs, such as add-on rotisserie systems, griddles, woks, warming plates and extra add-on side burners."
Outdoor Cooking Goes Social
Social media is growing as the preferred way to get the cookout word out. According to the 2011 HPBA national poll, nearly a quarter of Americans identified social media as the easiest way to invite friends and family to a barbecue. This marks a 22 percent increase in consumer preference for social media invitations since 2009, according to HPBA's year-to-year national data comparisons.
Joining the trend, HPBA recently unveiled "The BBQ Source" – an integrated barbecue community on Facebook and Twitter – just in time for National Barbecue Month. Consumers can easily join at facebook.com/TheBBQSource and twitter.com/TheBBQSource .
About Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA)
The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association based in Arlington, VA, is the North American industry association for manufacturers, retailers, distributors, representatives, service firms and allied associates for all types of hearth, barbecue and patio appliances, fuels and accessories. The association provides professional member services and industry support in education, statistics, government relations, marketing, advertising and consumer education. There are more than 2,500 members in the HPBA.
For full poll results and more on HPBA, visit www.hpba.org.
SOURCE Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA)