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    Big Night In: Turning trend into trade with bestsellers

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    As Brits choose to stay in day after day with friends and families be it for celebrations or relaxations, it is clear that big nights at home continue to present a huge golden opportunity for retailers to drive sales.

    It’s been well documented that as a nation, we’re already facing challenging times due to the cost-of-living crisis. This paints a grim picture of public mood and as a result, it is seen that decision making around expenditure is being heavily impacted.

    As recessionary conditions continue to prevail, nights-in with family and friends will become more and more prevalent. We are not complaining as Big Night Ins has always been a sales driver for convenience retailers, as they cater to last-minute purchases of treats for impromptu get together plans, movie nights, sports events, and more.

    The latest research shows two in five (40 per cent) intent on going out less frequently this year than last year, and three fifths (61 per cent) are spending more cautiously than before, but still want affordable indulgence, and that is where c-stores gain an edge.

    “With soaring costs seeing shoppers tighten their purse strings, the Big Night In is here to stay for a good while yet,” says Aslı Özen Turhan, Chief Marketing Officer at pladis UK & Ireland.

    Calli O’Brien, Head of Marketing at Aston Manor Cider, says that it is no surprise that 72 per cent of UK households are now impacted by the rising costs of food and drink with 1.3 million households at risk of falling below the poverty line.

    “The reality is we are all making savings to varying extents- not just to make ends meet, but to also be able to afford the things we value most,” O’Brien says, adding that Aston Manor’s ethos is all around affordability.

    Times might be a bit hard but Brits are still coming up with their own ways to have memorable moments.

    Lauren Priestley – Head of Category Development Off Trade at Diageo, states that shoppers are looking out for well-known brands that they trust will be popular with friends and party guests.

    Munching for fun

    Savvy retailers will agree that bakery plays an important part in the Big Night In, and premium brands like St Pierre continue to prove popular.

    “Our best-selling products for the Big Night In are St Pierre Brioche, Seeded Brioche Buns and St Pierre Hot Dog Rolls,” Josh Corrigan, Customer Development Director, UK, at St Pierre Groupe, tells Asian Trader, adding that every day, brioche continues to be a popular choice, and St Pierre is the biggest brand in the category.

    Also noteworthy here is Baker Street’s range of Burger Buns and Hot Dog Rolls which are ideal for consumers looking to recreate classic burgers and hot dogs.

    Mark Frossell, Senior National Account Manager at St Pierre Groupe, states that Baker Street is cleverly packed to stay fresher for longer and guarantees a minimum life of 35 days from delivery to depot, helping retailers ensure on-shelf availability and reducing the risk of wastage.

    The trend for ‘super-sizing’ meals is also one that Baker Street can cater to, with Jumbo Hot Dog Rolls and Mega Burger Buns.

    With 29 per cent of consumers planning to have fewer takeaways to curb spending, the rise of the ‘fakeaway’ trend which came to the fore last year (recreate eat-out favourites at home) is set to continue, says Ross Davison, Head of Convenience at Kepak.

    Big Night In: Turning trend into trade with bestsellers

    With two packs of Rustlers already sold every second in the UK, stockists of this £107.1m brand can cater to demand for hot, tasty and easy meal solutions, as consumers continue to trade down from eating out to grocery alternatives that replicate Out of Home menu favourites, he says.

    Indies can further boost sales by carefully curating a Big Night In fixture featuring the bestselling sweet and savoury snacks from the most popular brands like McVitie’s and Jacob’s.

    “And it’s important to remember that, whilst good value has quickly become a key motivator for shoppers, it’s not all about the price tag. In fact, Big Night In shoppers are more likely to splash out a little on premium propositions from heritage brands,” says Turhan from pladis, citing example of McVitie’s Blissfuls.

    Pladis has just introduced an extra shareable version of the nation’s favourite biscuit to help retailers switch up their snacking fixtures- McVitie’s Digestives Milk Chocolate Minis.

    “Our McVitie’s Digestives Milk Chocolate Minis are available in multipacks of 5x perfectly-portioned snack packs, and we’ve got sharing pouches – ideal for evenings in – launching later this autumn,” Turham tells Asian Trader.

    For the Big Night In, larger formats which can easily be passed around amongst friends and family are key. Big Night In shoppers are also seeking flavour-packed propositions to level up their snacking spreads.

    “Ticking both of these boxes is our Flipz brand. This ‘swavoury’ sensation promises a unique sweet, salty and crunchy snacking experience, satisfying a whole host of flavour cravings,” says Turhan.

    Big Night In snacking spread is incomplete without savoury snacks – which is where Jacob’s Mini Cheddars comes in. Jacob’s Mini Cheddars has firmly secured its position as a top 10 crisps and snacks brand.

    Squeezed pockets means more opportunity for independent retailers to offer pub-favourites snacks to shoppers missing on eating out, something like pork scratchings – the ultimate pub snack.

    Matt Smith, Marketing Director for Tayto Group, the leading manufacturer with almost 70 per cent share and the two leading brands- Mr Porky and Midland Snacks- explains, “During lockdown, pork scratchings sales in shops soared as people looked for that unique pub taste at home.

    “With over 20 per cent of pork snackers unwilling to switch to another snack, the 42 per cent of stores who are not stocking pork snacks are collectively missing out on £7m a year,” he says.

    Big Night In: Turning trend into trade with bestsellers

    Smith explains, “With the ‘enforced’ BNI, consumers are looking to recreate the pub experience at home. Scratchings are the perfect partner to a drink and so, should be displayed with BWS and soft drinks as well as with crisps and snacks. We’ve made this easy to do as our top-selling Mr Porky and Midland Snacks scratchings are all available in both SRP and clipstrips, so there is a solution for every store – no matter how big or small.”

    With no sign of the cost-of-living crisis easing, consumers are finding many ways to economise. Indies need to buck this trend, making £1 PMPs a must-stock.

    Smith from Tayto Group explains, “Since convenience shoppers worry that they will pay more for shopping locally and PMPs give them confidence that they are not being ripped off. That’s why PMPs have increased to 75 per cent of snacks sales in symbols and indies.

    Inflation pressure is forcing many other brands to move above the all-important £1 price-point, but Golden Wonder is committed to putting consumers and retailers first, as Matt explains, “Having surveyed both retailers and consumers, it was clear how important the £1 price-point is to both groups.”

    Golden Wonder has also recently launched their best-selling flavours in £1 PMP packs. The fully flavoured £1 PMP range includes Cheese & Onion, Spring Onion, Salt &Vinegar and Chip Shop Curry.

    Hitting the key price-points is also vital, as Smith explains, “With consumers’ focus on value, it’s important to stock a strong range of entry-point and mid-tier (50-69p) snacks.”

    Demand for sharing products is on the up and snacks are a hugely important part of a memorable sharing occasion, and the king of such nights is crisps, snacks and nuts (CSN).

    Matt Collins, Trading Director at KP Snacks, believes that taste is a critical element of sharing occasions as the number one influence for shoppers buying crisps or snacks.

    “Our exciting range has something for everyone from popcorn to nuts to pretzels and of course crisps. Independent stores can drive sales by stocking everyday treats to add fun and excitement to these occasions.” Collins says.

    Collins adds that there is a high demand for premium lines as consumers looks to replicate night out experiences at home, saying “46 per cent of shoppers are more inclined to trade-up to premium food and drink options when dining at home”.

    Tyrrells 150g Sharing bags are key products to capitalise those treat occasions. Full of personality, this brand has taste and quality at the heart of its offering with its authentic English heritage.

    Not to overlook here is Butterkist, the nation’s favourite popcorn brand. At nearly twice as large as its nearest branded competitor. KP Nuts portfolio offers delicious flavours and a range of formats, and is nearly five times bigger than the nearest branded competitor.

    Big Night In: Turning trend into trade with bestsellers

    KP’s new FlavourKravers range was launched last year and is available in three delicious flavours- Flame Grilled Steak, Smokin’ Paprika, and Sour Cream & Chive, Flavour Kravers.

    Major sporting events, and special occasions like Halloween, Diwali, and Christmas, all represent excellent sharing opportunities and in turn the opportunity to drive CSN sales and footfall.

    “Our Crunchy Hazelnut Chocolate flavour toffee popcorn is the perfect product to add fun and indulgence to any seasonal celebration,” says Collins.

    When stocking up for these Big Night In occasions, healthier sharing options should not be ignored. popchips is rated as the number one ‘Better for You’ bagged snack brand in the sharing pack format. Coming in at under 100 calories per serving and with a third less fat than the market leader, popchips provides a more permissible snack option without compromising on big flavour.

    Among other bestselling crisps, popcorns and nuts, Kenton Burchell, Group Trading Director at Bestway Wholesale, recommends keeping salsa kits including dips makes is a hassle-free snack option and recreate the cinema feeling at home. Retailers should also consider stocking a good range of ready-to-eat meals too like frozen pizza, says Burchell.

    Sweet Indulgence

    Families jamming together also seek enough sweets to keep the little ones enticed, sometime even turning their gatherings into unforgettable moments of indulgence. So, keep your confectionery section well-stocked, probably throughout the year.

    Matt Boulter, UK Sales Director, Mars Wrigley, believes that retailers can provide immersive experiences through seasonal treats and limited-edition offerings as well by surprising and delighting their customers.

    Retailers should stock up on the Galaxy Fusions Blonde Chocolate with Sea Salt block to capitalise on the rising popularity of blonde chocolate. Dark Maltesers caters to the consumer demand for a more intense cocoa experience by offering the same formulation that consumers know and love.

    Big Night In: Turning trend into trade with bestsellers

    M&M’s has a long-standing association with shared screen time, making the range a key consideration for convenience retailers looking to drive sales for the Big Night In occasion. Orange MALTESERS Buttons, part of the MALTESERS bite size range, is ideal for the sharing big night in occasion. SKITTLES, through a regular release of category-leading NPD, has continued to grow its range and managed to remain ever popular.

    Mars Wrigley has also continued to push the boundaries of fruity confections with the launch of new SKITTLES Desserts featuring five flavour variants: Cherry Cheesecake, Strawberry Ice Cream, Choco-Orange Cake, Lemon Pie and Blueberry Tart.

    Trend of staying-in is indeed the flavour of the season. The same can be ascertained by the type of products Brits are opting for more lately.

    Michelle Frost, general manager at Mars Chocolate Drinks and Treats, hints at a similar trend, saying that in recent months, we have seen an increase in Mars multipack sales by 39 per cent YOY.

    “This suggests that consumers are increasingly looking to enjoy ice cream as a home treat, not just when the weather is warm. Recognising this, we have recently launched our Bounty and Twix Ice Cream bars in multipacks of four, allowing retailers to extend the Mars four-pack range beyond our popular Mars and Snickers Ice Cream multipacks.”

    Mars and Snickers are among the bestselling ice cream bars, and offer the high levels of brand recognition. Mars has recently introduced one of its popular confectionery brands to ice cream tubs portfolio, with the launch of Milky Way ice cream tub. Milky Way is the fourth brand to join the Mars range of ice cream tubs, following on from Mars, Snickers and Maltesers.

    Eating Together

    Staying in also leads to cooking for a large number of people, sometimes for fun and sometimes to avoid spending on takeaways. As Brits continue to adapt, retailers can help them further by stocking a range that can ease their cooking- in both time and effort.

    Stocking gravy and dry sauces offer customers an easy solution to the question of ‘what to cook tonight’, so it is obvious why it’s an important category for retailers.

    Lucy Richardson, Unilever UK Category Director, states that consumers are looking for quick and easy meal solutions and retailers should stock the right range for their customers’ needs.

    “To optimise on sales in this category, ensure that your shelves are easy to navigate and should space allow, group some grocery and dry goods together – for example mince, tomato sauce, pasta and cheese – as inspiration for customers.

    Nestlé reduces salt and saturated fat in its iconic Maggi products

    Stating that Maggi tends to be a popular choice for more budget conscious shoppers, Richardson reminds retailers to offer meat-free and plant-based meal solutions as well as these will continue to grow ahead of meat-based products.

    Courtney Lewis, Customer Director Discounters, Spar and Wholesale, at Premier Foods, says that “we recognise people are looking for help putting affordable, filling, and nutritious meals on the table.”

    However, people are still keen to stick to brands they love, which provide trusted experience and the guarantee of quality, such as Sharwood’s.

    “Indian cuisines are popular with consumers and Sharwood’s Indian cooking sauces are designed to offer a helping hand to those looking to create meals quickly and easily,” says Lewis, adding that the brand offers a range of sauces and accompaniments to help cater for at home celebrations.

    With shoppers facing a spending squeeze and opting for meals at home, cooking sauces such as those in the Sharwood’s traditional Indian range are an ideal option. They can be used to create delicious meals quickly – even for large groups – enabling shoppers to cook a meal with ease, without needing to worry about complex recipes and long cooking time.

    In addition to cooking sauces, it is also important to offer products that will help convenience shoppers create the full curry experience from home, says Lewis, naming products like Sharwood’s Poppadoms, Naan and Mango Chutney.

    Big Night In: Turning trend into trade with bestsellers

    “For calendar events like National Curry Week, retailers should make sure that relevant products such as cooking sauces, rice and sides are visible on shelf to drive awareness and generate sales,” she says.

    We recommend creating cross-category dine-in meal deal promotions in the store. Creating a visually appealing display that includes these key components to a traditional curry will make it easy for customers to find the products that they need for a last-minute curry night

    Sharwood’s, the number one Indian brand in independents, is celebrating National Curry Week (October 2-8) by launching an exclusive competition for independent retailers. The competition is open to all independent retailers who are members of Unitas and Bestway. To enter, retailers simply need to buy one case of any Sharwood’s products between 15th September and 12th October from Bestway, or between 18th September and 8th October 2023 from Unitas.

    Chilling with drinks

    Ahead of a planned night-in, shoppers make sure that their chillers are well-stocked with not only soft drinks but also juices, iced coffee as well as energy drinks.

    Ben Parker, GB Retail Commercial Director at Britvic, points out that social occasions were worth £2.64bn for the year to 27th November 2022, showing an opportunity to capitalise on the big night in occasion with large formats and multipacks across key soft drinks categories.

    As the recessionary environment hits, we expect to see growth in in-home family dining and at home socialising, where there is a key role for soft drinks to play in both of these.

    “At Britvic, we offer a variety of pack formats to cater for different shopper needs. For those consumers who are planning nights in with friends and family, there are larger formats such as our 2l sharing bottles and multipacks of carbonated soft drinks such as Pepsi MAX, Tango and 7UP Free,” says Parker.

    Big Night In: Turning trend into trade with bestsellers

    Shoppers continue to seek ready-to-drink, on-the-go quality energy options at everyday value prices.

    Boost Original Energy and Boost Red Berry are some great bets here for sure-shot sale. Boost has also launched its reformulated 250ml Lemon and Lime Energy (previously Citrus Zing), informs Adrian Hipkiss, Marketing Director at Boost Drinks.

    It is always a good idea to keep sports drinks too and one of the best bets among these is Boost Sport.

    Another noteworthy product here is Boost’s new 500mlJuic’d range in four flavours- Pineapple & Guava Punch, Mango & Tropical Blitz and Watermelon & Lime Twist and Tropical Fruit Sour Punch- and Rio.

    “Rio offers huge growth opportunities for retailers; and with a range of products such as Rio Tropical, which comes in both price marked can and 500ml bottle formats, and Rio Tropical Light,” Hipkiss tells Asian Trader.

    Booze Night In

    The current financial climate means that the Big Night In occasion is set to grow again this year, creating an opportunity for retailers.

    And a cool option to stock here among the regular beer, wine and spirits is cider.

    Cider is typically enjoyed by consumers for refreshment and proves to fare extremely well throughout the year.

    O’Brien from Aston Manor states that it’s worth noting that flavoured cider is down –9 per cent and declining ahead of the total market, suggesting that drinkers are moving away from flavoured ciders in favour of more traditional recipes.

    Aston Manor is proud to have a strong customer base across the alcohol sector. Crumpton Oaks is the number one value apple cider brand in impulse with its can format.

    Frosty Jack’s is Aston Manor’s another leading brand. One of the largest convenience cider brands in the UK, Frosty Jack’s is in the top five brands amongst impulse purchases, says O’Brien, adding that Knights Cider brand has become the wholesale market leader, outperforming all other segments in the category.

    Aston Manor Cider has introduced a new range of Frosty Jack’s pack formats, looking to offer more affordability to customers as shoppers look to tighten their belts.

    Big Night In: Turning trend into trade with bestsellers

    Priestley from Diageo is reminding retailers the strength of Captain Morgan Original Spiced.

    “Its position as the number one rum-based spirit in the off-trade means it is a must stock all-year-round, and its iconic bottle design has particular stand out shelf appeal,” she says.

    Captain Morgan recently expanded its portfolio with the launch of Captain Morgan Black Spiced and Captain Morgan Sliced Apple.

    With nearly half of UK adults (47 per cent) switching between alcohol and low and alcohol-free, it is great to see the alcohol-free category continuing to grow.

    To cater this, Diageo has a varied portfolio of alcohol-free products, including Guinness 0.0%, Tanqueray 0.0%, Gordon’s 0.0% Alcohol Free Spirit and Gordon’s Pink 0.0% Alcohol Free Spirit.

    Another notable rising trend here is at-home cocktails which are expected to boom over the winter months.

    Tim Dunlop, European commercial director, Shanky’s Whip from Biggar and Leith, states that this is the season for dark spirits and drinks with warming flavour profiles and Shanky’s Whip fits right into the big night in moment.

    “Dessert and digestifs come into their own too throughout the winter months and Shanky’s Whip is well positioned to capitalise on these moments with a warmer flavour profile. It can be enjoyed cold as a sipping drink, mixed with cola or ginger beer, or warm in a coffee, hot toddy or a hot spiced punch,” Dunlop says.

    Local, smaller format stores are perfectly positioned to benefit from impromptu evenings in and impulse occasions, says Dunlop, urging retailers to plan ranges accordingly.

    Shanky’s Whip is instantly recognisable with its vintage style label and tends to standout on shelf owing to bottle shape, styling and branding.

    “We offer branded free-standing units and posters, eye-catching gift packs with mugs and glasses – ideal for taking along to a gathering in the home and for gifting to the host,” says Dunlop.

    Big Night In: Turning trend into trade with bestsellers

    In past recent years, Amaro has entered homes as consumers become more discerning and extra emphasis has been placed on the digestif. Stambecco is an elegant range of Italian amaro and liqueurs, distilled in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy.

    Representing Stambeco, Dunlop says that Stambecco Maraschino Cherry Amaro and Tiramisu Liqueur bring comforting flavours to evenings in the home.

    Stambecco Maraschino Cherry is infused with around 30 botanicals, herbs and spices including bitter and sweet oranges, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Stambecco Tiramisu Liqueur captures the unmistakable flavours of the famous Italian dessert, bringing together notes of savoiardi biscuits, mascarpone, cocoa and coffee.

    Both Stambecco Maraschino Cherry Amaro and Tiramisu Liqueur are available to retailers via UK distributor Craftwork.

    Ready-to-drinks (RTD) is another buzz word in this aisle. RTDs are a fast-growing category, yet the market is crying out for more innovation and excitement and BuzzBallz Cocktails is the perfect answer here.

    “We’ve created a real buzz in the USA and we know the UK has every potential to follow in its footsteps, with the right brand proposition and quality credentials,” says David Relph, country manager UK and Ireland, BuzzBallz Cocktails.

    Extensive branded POS materials are available to support stores including display units, counter and chiller racks, and eye-catching signage to add appeal and create a buzz.

    Announcing the launch of premium Pornstar Martini variant, Relph states that it is a modern yet classic cocktail, featuring top quality vodka and passion fruit juice.

    Seven SKUs are available to retailers via exclusive distributor, Hammonds of Knutsford- Pornstar Martini, Choc Tease, Tequila ‘Rita, Strawberry ‘Rita, Lotta Colada, Chili Mango and Espresso Martini.

    A lot of the appeal for RTDs lies in their fun, clean, and easy-drinking flavours, presenting a key opportunity for convenience.

    Matt Bulcroft, Marketing Director at Global Brands, states as consumers purchase more canned cocktails and traditional RTDs to create their own in-home entertainment, Global Brands is seeing increased demand for 70cl SKUs and sharing packs.

    “With new launches from Global Brands including the Hooch Mixed Pack and VK Blue Multipack, convenience stores have many more opportunities to boost interest in their range of RTDs catering to sharing occasions,” Bulcroft tells Asian Trader.

    Enhanced RTDs, a category consisting of higher ABV alcoholic beverages with caffeine, are another key opportunity for c-stores to expand their RTD range and drive sales. A recent launch in this category is Soopa Hooch.

    Bulcroft recommends retailers to utilise PMPs across RTD range to entice to customers stocking up for a Big Night In. Chilled single cans, new Blue Hooch, and Shake Baby Shake’s range of cocktail cans, including their Piña Colada flavour, perform very well in convenience, as they provide an easy to drink, cooled, and convenient format.

    Bulcroft’s industry peer Jo Taylorson, head of marketing and product management, Kingsland Drinks, is vouching forcanned RTDs.

    Spanish wine brand Campaneo gets new look

    “They account for lots of the NPD. We expect the category to come into its own this summer as RTDs establish themselves among consumers and become a mainstream choice for at-home drinking occasions,” says Taylorson, introducing three new flavours under Kignsland Drinks’ Mix Up range- Mix Up Coffee Rum & Cola, Pink Gin & Diet Lemonade, and Apple Rum, Lime & Ginger Ale.

    Mix Up offers a diverse range of flavour choices and the drinks are ready to be consumed on the go, straight from the can. The packaging is bright, eye catching and grabs attention on shelf, whilst communicating the refreshing nature of the liquid, says Taylorson.

    Another offering by Kingsland Drinks, Campaneo, has built real momentum and a cult following of consumers and wine critics.

    Campaneo’s brand proposition- centred around its outstanding reviews, affordable price points, and exceptional quality liquid – helps cement its place on drinks fixtures as an option. Its range has been expanded with the addition of a new Sauvignon Blanc variety and a new, convenient 2.25L Bag in Box (BiB) format.

    Tempranillo and Sauvignon Blanc are available in Bag in Box format, while Tempranillo, Sauvignon Blanc and Garnacha are all available in 75cl bottles.

    “Consumers are switching on to wines in this format, so we must embrace what they offer; recyclability, affordability, and longer lasting wine. Bag in box wines stay fresh for sixweeks so can cover a whole weekend, or multiple nights in,” says Taylorson.

    Developed specifically for the value end of the market, Campaneo wines not only have the look, feel and taste of a premium wine brand, but they also come at an affordable price point (SRPs start at £6 for the 75cl bottle and from £16 for the 2.25l bag in box).

    While people are staying-in, it would be a misnomer to say that they are missing their beloved cocktails, as lockdown made almost everyone an amateur mixer.

    Sophie Lawrence, Marketing and Communications Director at Sovereign Brands, a family-run wine and spirits company, too believes that one of the best ways to recreate out-of-home experiences is with cocktails.

    Luc Belaire, with its range of brightly coloured bottles and cuvées, including Belaire Bleu’s striking blue wine, provides an interesting option for consumers to re-create the look and feel of a premium cocktail.

    Villon, with its sweet, spiced notes of almond, butterscotch and toffee, is the perfect tipple to add to cocktail of choice while The Deacon’s lends layers of depth to traditional and contemporary cocktails. Each of these bottles looks the part, with eye-catching packaging to transform home drinks cart with the look of a luxury back-bar, says Lawrence.

    Flavoured and spiced rums too continue to remain sought-after.

    “Bumbu is showing one of the fastest growth rates in the off-trade, up 17 per cent, driven by its original taste and stunning packaging,” says Lawrence, adding that most consumers are looking to try new flavour.

    The sparkling wine category is said to haveboomed in off-trade. Luc Belaire Rosé’s grape blend creates a fruity sparkling drink that is perfect for soirees, toasting on special occasions and incorporating into cocktails.

    Noteworthy here is the growing demand for sparkling Rosé. This category offers retailers and wholesalers great opportunity for profit, given the growing popularity of sparkling wines during celebratory seasons.

    New to Luc Belaire is Belaire ZEUS, the world’s largest bottle of bubbly currently available.

    Equivalent to 60 standard bottles, ZEUS is a super-sized offering of Belaire’s flagship Belaire Rosé and Belaire Luxe cuvées. It stands above 1m in height and contains45 litres of sparkling wine, informs Lawrence.

    Big Night In: Turning trend into trade with bestsellers
    iStock image

    Speaking about wines, reports claim that a third of UK alcohol drinkers would rather treat themselves to a better-quality drink at home than go out, creating a perfect opportunity for elegant wines like Faustino’s Gran Reserva.

    “Faustino offers both entry-level and premium wines which provide a lucrative opportunity for the off-trades. This wide offering provides consumers with variety, whether they are bringing a bottle to a friend’s house for a night in, or hosting a dinner party,” says Sarah Gandy, Marketing Manager at Amber Beverage Group UK, the distributor of Bodegas Faustino.

    Faustino Cava Brut sparkling wine is a great quality alternative to prosecco for those eager to expand their options and provide better quality sparkling wine for good value, says Gandy.

    Another buzz word here is Spanish wine.

    “Faustino has established itself as the second highest-performing Spanish wine in the off-trade, reserving a coveted spot at the dinner table,” says Gandy.

    Bodegas Faustino has been recognised through numerous awards including 91 points at Wine Spectator 2021; 97 points at Decanter World Wine Awards and being the first Rioja wineries to achieve the new Sustainable Wineries for Climate Protection certification.

    Keep up with trends

    Lifestyle changes have driven changes in shopper behaviour and a move towards premium brands.

    “At St Pierre Groupe, we pride ourselves on offering premium brands and consistent quality, with extended shelf life that guarantees availability and reduces wastage for retailers,” says Rachel Wells, UK Sales Director at St Pierre Groupe, adding that St Pierre Groupe is the fastest growing bakery supplier in the top 10 and is the fifth largest in the UK.

    There are three key trends that c-stores should bear in mind. These include indulgence, premiumisation and the growth of flexitarians.

    “There’s a lot happening in the world, but that doesn’t change the fact that when they get the chance, people like to forget their troubles and enjoy themselves,” says Wells.

    Brits are looking out for offers and promotions, more than ever before.

    Two thirds of the population believe it is important to make savings on their grocery bills, however, 69 per cent of consumers plan to shop at many stores to take advantage of offers with most of them actively looking out for and trying to buy products when on promotion.

    “PMPs continue to provide a vital reassurance of value, with all of Rustlers’ best sellers available in this format, however, value isn’t just confined to the price of a single product,” says Davison from Kepak, adding that meal deals and bundle offers are popular with shoppers seeking savings.

    Healthier choices also have been a priority for consumers for some time.

    “The health trend continues to accelerate, playing an important role in the success of low-calorie soft drinks with sugar remaining a key consideration for shoppers when choosing a soft drink,” Parker from Britvic tells Asian Trader, pointing out that Tango has a strong history of success with sugar free launches.

    Tango Dark Berry Sugar Free launched in April 2021 and was the number one fruit flavoured carbonate during that year. Both Tango Dark Berry and Tango Apple are sugar

    free products that are available in a range of formats, including six-can multipacks and 2l bottles, perfect for sharing with family and friends, says Parker.

    Big Night In: Turning trend into trade with bestsellers
    Image by REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo/File Photo

    Parker’s views on importance of stocking healthier options are echoed by another industry leader who states that this line can be the key to further growth opportunity.

    Amy Burgess, Senior Trade Communications Manager at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP), says that offering healthier option is one of the key drivers to unlock the soft drinks growth opportunity.

    “We are seeing our low and no sugar options – Coca-Coca Zero Sugar, Sprite Zero and Dr Pepper Zero- leading growth in convenience. To maintain this momentum, we have recently unveiled a new look and great new taste for Sprite Zero which we’re confident consumers will love,” Burgess says.

    CCEP has also unveiled a new and improved taste for Dr Pepper Zero, to unlock continued growth for the number two flavoured carbonates brand in Great Britain.

    “We’re constantly investing in our brands to keep them relevant and give consumers more choice, with a focus on low and no sugar options, but we maintain that choice is key. That’s why we continue to offer favourites like Coca-Cola Original Taste and Monster Green, which we know consumers love just the way they are,” she says.

    Apart from core carbonated drinks range, it is key to keep quality mixers like Schweppes too as consumers are looking to pair their favourite spirits. With gin and vodka the two most popular spirits in the UK, Schweppes Classic Tonic and Slimline Tonic are likely to be in high demand.

    Big Night In: Turning trend into trade with bestsellers

    CCEP’s RTD range is also in trend and in great demand.

    “We’ve recently launched Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola RTD, made with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and Coca-Cola, and inspired by the classic branded ‘bar call’ serve, JD & Coke, known and enjoyed around the world. We’ve also launched a Coca-Cola Zero Sugar version in GB,” Burgess tells Asian Trader.

    Boosting Sales

    The right fitting, displays and equipment can bring quite a lot of difference in shopping experience.

    Husky PRO Chillers and Freezers offer complete freedom in merchandising, allowing store owners to showcase a wide variety of products, both new and beloved classics. The Husky PRO models provide the flexibility to adapt to changing seasons and trends.

    How and where product lines are stocked also plays a key factor. A good idea is to keep experimenting and see what works the best.

    Retailers should look to be strategic with their merchandising when it comes to the Big Night In occasion, especially in bakery, as this will encourage shoppers to trade up from their usual purchases to something more special.

    “To make sure shoppers see their store as the ‘go to’ place for Big Nights In, retailers should give popular products like those from St Pierre Groupe more than one facing; offer good, better and best options to cater to the trend for premiumisation; and consider long-life options so you can stock up in readiness for a sales surge,” says Wells.

    Burgess from CCEP recommends displaying complimentary products together.

    “We know that shoppers want displays where they can pick up everything they want in one go. This means displaying different complimentary categories together – like sharing packs of popular soft drinks like Coca-ColaTM, Fanta, Sprite, Dr Pepper or Schweppes, alongside popular snacks or meal options,” Burgess says, adding that bundle deal or meal deals are also some effective ways.

    “We know that four in every five at-home snacking occasions involves a drink, so Coca-ColaTM has joined forces with Pringles to help retailers create eye-catching displays that will drive linked purchases.”

    Big Night In: Turning trend into trade with bestsellers

    Priestley from Diageo banks heavily on cross-category promotions, saying retailers can encourage incremental purchases, and position their stores as go-to locations for those shoppers who are hosting seasonal events.

    When it comes to alcohol, particularly cider, larger multi-packs are important to ensure shoppers can keep their home supply stocked up for their Big Nights In.

    However, it is also worth noting that cider is the impulse drink of choice so retailers must ensure they can respond to this by offering a 100 per cent chilled range, stocking a wide range of options in cans and bottles.

    “Retailers should therefore provide a variety of chilled drinks for customers to buy, take home, and enjoy straight away. When a shopper buys cider on impulse, having it chilled and ready to drink are often more important than price, however promotions still play an important role in communicating value-for-money that will help to win longer term customer loyalty,” says O’Brien.

    Go for it

    Burchell from Bestway Wholesale suggests creating a Big Night In section, with the bestseller lines merchandised together consisting of drinks and snacks merchandised next to a chiller of ready-made meals.

    Giving an insight into shopping habits, Burchell advices retailers to tempt shoppers with displays of crisps and snacks next to beer and cider. Also, ensure to stock a small range of no-alcohol beer to cater for consumers avoiding alcohol.

    Those looking for new product lines, Bestway Wholesale now has The Straw Hat Lush & Fruity Rose, The Straw Hat Lush & Fruity Rose, Paradise Bay Cocktail Co Mojito, Ristorante Dr. Oetker Pizza Hawaii and Magnum Mini Ice Cream Sticks Classic 6, Burchell tells Asian Trader.

    Big Night In: Turning trend into trade with bestsellers
    iStock image

    Using POS shelf talkers and banners to show customers where they can find the products in the store, using promotional offers giving customers recommendations on which products to choose from and ensuring that the section is well lit, well stocked and organised to make it an appealing display are other simple yet effective ways to brighten up the sales.

    The idea is very simple. Apart from stocking grocery and household product lines, stores can go an extra mile if they can position themselves as the one-stop solutions for all the party and get-together needs.

    Such plans are often made at short notice and very often impromptu ones. Even if a person makes a monthly visit to his nearest Big Four, hewill be most unlikely to go there for this top-up purpose and will turn towards his nearest local store to buy snacks, drinks and meals for his plans ahead.

    There is absolutely no apprehension now about the credibility and longevity of the Big Night-in trend. It is here to stay, and we all are loving it more this way.

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