Instacart’s Summer BBQ Report is Hot off the Grill 🇺🇸🍔
It’s officially summer and grilling season is about to take off as we near the July 4th weekend — a holiday synonymous with delicious BBQ spreads and fun summer activities. To give you a sense of how much America’s birthday propels summer barbecue festivities, last year Instacart saw sales for charcoal (+97%), pool floats (+76%), and insect repellent (+17%) all grow tremendously during the week leading up to the Fourth of July. With grilling top-of-mind for so many, we wanted to take a closer look at what folks are cooking up under the BBQ hood and the other essentials filling carts all summer long.
July 4th: A Look at America’s Plate
Hear us out and let us be frank 🌭for a minute…The fourth of July is one of the best holidays for foodies. Because, what’s better than a plate with a grilled hot dog or hamburger, corn on the cob, a fresh slice of watermelon, salty chips, and some baked beans?
Apparently not much, because according to our data, all of these BBQ party foods are amongst the most popular items sold during the week leading up to July 4th. Here’s the full list: ⤵️
The Summer Continues: Sun’s Out, (Hot Dog) Buns Out
If the Fourth of July is the peak day for BBQ, what does that mean for summer grilling after the holiday? According to Instacart’s Trends Expert Laurentia Romaniuk:
“Overall, summer shopping patterns stay consistent with people opting for different cuts and types of meat to grill and fresh, seasonal produce to enjoy. The summer months come with many delicious traditions and foods that people look forward to eating all year — most notably the bounty of peak-season fruits and vegetables, including everything from juicy stone fruits and refreshing watermelon to crunchy sweet corn and lush tomatoes. Summer is undoubtedly marked by a healthy, garden-fresh, and colorful harvest that pulls us out of the colder months.”
Here are the top 10 foods that are the most associated with summer shopping, with watermelons, hot dogs, and steak stacking the list:
United States of Summer Eats
With summer being the season for grilling meats and enjoying colorful fruits and veggies, we looked into our purchase data to uncover the various meat and seasonal produce that each state buys the most compared to the national average.
Let’s start with meats for the grill…
When we think about American barbecue, Texas brisket and Kansas City ribs may be top-of-mind, however, these intricately cooked meats can take hours to smoke or grill, making them less approachable to the average person cooking at home. With that said, our data reflects what families are buying for easy, daily summer grilling — here’s a closer look at the findings:
- Burgers, anyone? Ground beef is the top meat in 16 states, including the majority of the South.
- Let’s link-up. The Midwest loves sausages, with 9 states choosing the cased meat as their favorite.
- What came first, 🐔or 🥚? Thirteen states — including the majority of the East Coast — buy chicken more than anyone else.
- Medium-rare, please. California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii buy beef steak more often than anywhere else in the U.S. — sizzle, sizzle. 🤌
- It’s not a ‘mis-steak.’ The Pacific Northwest, specifically Oregon and Washington, and Washington, D.C., are flexing their plant-based preferences by opting for vegetarian burgers.
- Lone soldiers. The following types of meat are the most uniquely popular in only one state:
- Beef ribs: Idaho, do they pair nicely with potatoes?
- Pork ribs: Montana, spare a rib for the rest of us.
- Hot dogs: Wyoming is the ‘weiner’ as the first and only state to love hot dogs more than the average.
- Brisket: Utah buys the most compared to any other state’s average. Sorry, Texas!
When looking at the most uniquely popular produce in each state, “ears” 🌽 what we found:
- The berry best. Strawberries 🍓dominate as the top summer produce in 20 states — clearly, this summer berry has stolen the hearts of America.
- Extra corny. Three types of corn 🌽show up as favorites on the map, including:
- Sweet corn: Ranking in 7 states spanning different regions from Texas → Minnesota → Maine.
- White corn: Favored in Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.
- Yellow corn: Only North Carolina knows what’s up!
- Sweet nectar. Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming snack on juicy nectarines more than any other state.
- Takes two to mango. Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico really take advantage of buying mangos 🥭 while in season, bringing tropical fare to the desert.
- One in a melon. Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina buy more watermelons 🍉than the rest of the country, staying hydrated via fruit.
- Riding solo. The following types of summer produce are the most uniquely popular in only one state:
- Plums: Louisiana stands alone when it comes to its love for these juicy purple stone fruits.
- Key limes: Arizona is all about key limes and staying sour with this specialty citrus all summer long.
Hot Dogs, Watermelon, & Corn — Oh My!
Americans’ love for 🌭🍉🌽 runs deep, but which states love these summer staples the most? Check out the heat map below: ⤵️
According to the hot dog 🌭heat map, these 5 states buy the most hot dogs during the summer:
- West Virginia (10.1% of carts during the summer contain hot dogs)
- New Hampshire (9.1%)
- Vermont (9%)
- Delaware (8.9%)
- North Carolina (8.5%)
According to the watermelon 🍉heat map, here are the top 5 states buying the most of this seasonal treat:
- South Carolina (8.7% of carts during the summer contain watermelon)
- Alabama (8.6%)
- Minnesota (8.5%)
- Maine (8.3%)
- South Dakota (8.3%)
According to the corn 🌽heat map, these 5 states are purchasing the most corn from May through September:
- Maine (4.7% of carts during the summer contain corn)
- Vermont (4.3%)
- Kentucky (4.2%)
- Oregon (3.8%)
- Colorado (3.5%)
Have a ‘Grate’ Summer!
Whether you’re grilling up a storm this summer or keeping things cool sans BBQ, we hope you enjoy the best months ahead with delicious food, friends, and family! 😎
Instacart Data Methodology
Growth numbers are measured by looking at week-over-week percent growth and adjusting for platform growth to isolate the behavior of each specific category.
Adjusting for Growth:
We adjust Instacart growth percentages by the overall growth of total deliveries. Doing so removes the influence of our platform growth so we can focus on the change in consumer behavior.
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