by Nissa Hanna
In Minneapolis, the smell of outdoor opportunity is finally breaking the grip of the tenacious winter air. After a few false spring starts, the race to fit a year’s worth of warm weather activities into a few short months is on.
We may be the poster children of cold-climate cities, but we’re joined by consumers around the U.S. who are assuming the position for summer fun: pulling the outdoor furniture from hibernation, tidying up the backyard, grooming the garden and firing up the barbecue plans.
It turns out that soaking in the vitamin D isn’t the only healthy benefit of alfresco dining. According to Psychology Today, the elements of a good barbecue can be a boon to emotional health (5 May 2011). Burgers are a relationship-associated comfort food that can keep loneliness at bay, and enjoying the great outdoors replenishes depleted mental energy.
So it’s a good thing that consumers haven’t cut back on at-home entertaining. A recent study by the NPD Group found that 12% of Americans upped their house-party plans this year, while 37% say they’re holding steady with the number of soirees held in years past (MediaPost.com, 13 April 2011).
The outdoor invitational is calling to consumers, and don’t think it’s a passing fad. The roots of open-air living are growing deeper as the backyard opens up to new benefits.