The BBQ is one of Brits’ favourite summer activities. Asian Trader finds out how independent retailers can maximise sales.
BBQ & at-home eating & entertaining is now the UK’s No1 summer home leisure activity, with three out of four households now owning some type of BBQ grill, according to National BBQ Week.
In 2018 the UK the tied for equal first place with Germany as Europe’s leading BBQ nations, hosting approximately 135 million barbies each.
The average number of BBQ’s held per family during the summer has risen sharply from around 2.5 around ten years ago to over 10 in 2018.
National BBQ Week data reveals the overall at-home alfresco eating & entertaining plus BBQ market was worth just over £7.6 billion in 2018, up from £150 million back in 1997.
Standard pre-planned BBQs are changing fast, as lifestyles become more casual, and are down from 70% in 2002 to fewer than 21% in 2018.
After-work or mid-week barbies now account for over 39% of all BBQ occasions, although this is down from a high of 48% in 2015.
Although BBQ & alfresco eating has now become a standard alternative summer meal format with nearly half the population now considering it as normal to BBQ or eat outside during the summer, alfresco eating occasions are still perceived to be an indulgence or treat, with 33% likening BBQ to a dinner party in terms of entertainment value.
Once male dominated, BBQs are now becoming much more gender-neutral with women accounting for 46% of all BBQ occasions. Whilst men are still tangling with the tongs, they have slipped by 6% over the last three years to 54% in 2018.
Couples are 3 times more likely to host a BBQ than singles, and only 4% of pensioners are likely to have a barbie. 33% of men and 32% of women now attend over 10 BBQ’s a year, with 8% of adults claiming to have found love over the coals.
Apart from the summer 24% of us now have BBQ’s during the spring, with a further 5% claiming to BBQ all year-round and 190,000 claiming to have BBQ’ed their Xmas dinner!
The move towards vegetarian and vegan food choices, has also naturally evolved into the BBQ and at-home alfresco eating market as well, with over 31% of all BBQ’s now including either a full or partial vegetarian or vegan option.
Equally over the last few years there has been a clear swing towards gastro-grilling with a ‘sausage to swordfish and burger to brochette’ evolution in the style and type of food cooked at a BBQ.
Despite times still being tough, many consumers are now indulging themselves as a way of ‘lightening the load’ and will now spend around £42 on food and drink for a BBQ, up from £15 just five years ago.
Despite the slow economic recovery and probably due to ongoing Brexit uncertainty, BBQ and at-home alfresco eating & entertaining remains a fashionable and cheaper alternative to a visit to the local pub or restaurant.
When it comes to what we cook on our barbecues, the UK’s favourite is burgers (81%), with sausages coming in just behind (80%), according to an idealo/SSI survey. The most popular food to accompany a BBQ in the UK was salad, mentioned by 78% of respondents, also essential were sauces and dips (76%) and bread (70%).
On average, UK households barbecue 10 times a year.
Saturday is by far the most popular day to barbecue (66%), followed by Sunday (52%).
“As the BBQ season fast approaches, retailers should be considering the types of products consumers want to see on shelves as the weather warms up,” says Dawn Spencer, Director, Kerry Foods. “Preferences are changing and diversifying so it’s important to be abreast of all the latest developments and cater to a wide variety of tastes and preferences.”
“A key trend we’re seeing is an increase in demand for more choice within meat products,” Spencer continues. “Consumers are now looking for healthier options to complement their lifestyles, choices and diets and want a broader range to choose from. As a result, there has been a surge in interest in healthier proteins, since shoppers wanting more diversity on their BBQ rather than just the traditional beef burger.”
Kerry Foods’ Richmond brand has extended its Chicken Sausage range – low in fat and therefore perfect for the BBQ – with the launch of Richmond Thin Chicken Sausages, which sit alongside the existing Thick Chicken and Frozen options, to cater for this increased demand. Coming in at just 48 calories a sausage, the Thin Chicken Sausage is ideal for those looking for a lighter alternative and a versatile ingredient. This latest launch supports Kerry Foods’ ambition to champion chicken and give families additional options to enjoy leaner, healthier proteins as part of a balanced diet.
Since first launching, Richmond’s Chicken Sausages have proven to be a hit with consumers. Richmond Chicken now has a Retail Sales Value of almost £3 million and is the second best-selling chicken sausage, with a 15% value share of the chicken sausage category (IRI & KWP).
“What’s clear is that the retailers that choose to diversify their product offering and seek alternatives to the more traditional BBQ foods will be the ones to win this summer,” adds Spencer.
“As a nation we’re travelling more than ever and are exposed to a huge variety of different flavours, which is what’s driving our innovation in BBQ sauces,” comments Andre Burger, Vice President for Foods, Unilever UKI.
Mintel research shows that we’re not just trying exotic foods in restaurants or takeaways, we’re also experimenting with different cuisines at home, with more than a fifth of Brits eating up to seven types of global cuisines within a three-month period.
“We’re constantly evolving our sauces and dressings offering too, to reflect the nation’s desire to recreate the exciting and flavoursome foods they’re experiencing when out and about, but in the comfort of their back gardens when they’re having a BBQ,” adds Burger.
When it comes to heat, last year Unilever launched the ultimate in spicy mayonnaise with Hellmann’s Chilli Mayonnaise Fired by TABASCO, to respond to those wanting to spice up their meals.
“This product combines the great taste credentials of both Hellmann’s and TABASCO, resulting in a spicy mayo that surpasses all others. Its squeezy format means BBQ lovers can easily add as much or as little sauce as they like to their favourite grilled meat or vegetables,” says Burger.
With hot dogs maintaining their rightful place on Brits’ BBQ grills, Hellmann’s Hot Dog Sauce, with a hit of mustard and red chilli, provides a touch of heat to brighten up those bangers.
“With over half a million UK consumers now following vegan diets, it’s a given that meat-free and plant-based BBQs will increase in popularity again this summer, which is why it’s important that retailers stock up on a great tasting mayo, such as Hellmann’s Vegan Mayo, to capitalise on this trend,” Burger comments.
The growing desire to follow plant-based diet is based on key factors such as improving health and helping the environment. In fact, 34% of meat eaters in the UK reduced their meat consumption last year (Mintel) – and this is only set to rise, which offers a huge opportunity for food brands.
The plant-based trend is also giving salads a boost, with more and more being chosen for main meals rather than side dishes and, as a result, consumers are looking for easy ways to recreate the salads they eat when they’re out and about.
In response to the growing popularity of salads, especially those that are grain-based, Hellmann’s has developed a range of premium vinaigrettes specifically designed to complement on-trend salads such as quinoa, lentils and couscous.
New Hellmann’s Mango Vinaigrette, Red Pepper Vinaigrette and Tomato & Beetroot Vinaigrette contain real fruit and vegetable pulp to add a unique dimension to main meal salads. The range is completely vegan-friendly, making it a great addition to meat-free BBQs this summer.
“Summer, the season of light evenings, mini-heatwaves and terrible T-shirt tans which all mean one thing: BBQ’s. Let’s face it, a lot of us are terrible barbecquers, but with the right preparation and the right drinks, you can be sure to assist your customers in hosting a summer night to remember,” comments Amy Giacobbi, Marketing Manager, Continental Wine and Food Ltd.
“Good weather in the UK is a relished rarity that allows retailers to really drive their sales to customers, especially those on-the-go and when the unpredictable weather creates the demand for these celebrated occasions. However, one thing people don’t want whilst hosting a BBQ is playing the bartender all night, so stocking up on volume is key.”
The Straw Hat is the UK’s Number 1 British Wine Brand, with sales increasing year on year the brand has generated a very loyal customer base that love the taste, the quality and the value of this desirable British wine. As well as the 18.7cl and 75cl size formats, The Straw Hat boasts a 2.25 litre bag in box within their range which is set to be the saviour of all BBQ’s this summer.
Each box is equivalent of 3 x 75cl bottles and features an easy-pour tap which is ideal for those individuals wanting to refill their glass, all without having to trail back and forth to the fridge for a top up. The bag in boxes stay fresh for up to 6 weeks after opening and screams value for money for the consumer. By stocking a range of formats and size options, retailers can become a serious competitor to the supermarket giants with choice and availability being a key component of their core values.
“Within the past few years, the rise in the use of botanicals in soft drinks reflects the popularity of the natural ingredients in other beverage categories such as tea and juice drinks, and to keep up with consumer interest we created our very own carefully crafted botanical blends of The Straw Hat,” adds Giacobbi.
Inspired by the plants of the finest potting shed, the Botanicals collection provides refreshing infusions and an exciting new fruity spin-off from the core range. The two varietals are white with cool cumber, zesty lime and a hint of ginger, and rose with juicy strawberry, sweet orange blossom and rhubarb – both can be enjoyed chilled or with a measure of gin and topped up with soda to create the perfect Botanical Fizz cocktail. CWF predicts this botanical range to be a big hit this summer – especially at family BBQ’s where the preferences are slightly sweeter and as the rapid shift continues towards more natural and organic products.
Following on from an on-pack promotion last year, CWF is launching another Great British Giveaway campaign to run through the summer months. Celebrating everything ‘British’, CWF has teamed up with Virgin Gift Card to offer an array of prizes to hundreds of winners including £3000 towards a dream holiday and lastminute.com experience days. Promotional bottles feature a simple ‘peel & reveal’ back label which provides entrants with a unique code that they enter online, and if the individual doesn’t win a prize they will receive a 15% discount code for lastminute.com experience days regardless.
The Straw Hat is proudly Vegan which is a huge current consumer trend that is set to stay as Vegan movement goes mainstream. For years veganism has been a minority within a minority but as people become more ecologically minded about where their food and drinks are sourced from, producers all over the world have seen an increased demand for vegan-friendly products in their ranges, and it is crucial that retailers follow this trend by stocking these products within their stores to appeal to the wider shopping audience.
“Another trend we predict is set to stay is the rise in mindful drinking which ties in with health-conscious consumers,” says Giacobbi. “With people not wanting to compromise on taste but head towards low alcoholic beverages to align with moderation trends, producers are trying to capitalise on consumer demand for healthier alternatives and innovation within this sector is endemic.”
Silver Bay Point is another of British wine that goes hand-in-hand with both the Vegan trend and the health-conscious consumer. The full range is 66 calories or under per 100ml glass and whilst it’s light in calories, it’s also light on the pocket for consumers which creates shelf-appeal and is a great margin generator for retailers.
Inspired by fruits of the summer and fruit-flavoured ciders taking the UK by storm, CWF extended the Silver Bay Point range and added 3 mouth-wateringly fruity variants that have a huge appeal to those wanting something sweeter and more vibrant during summer BBQ get-togethers. The Silver Bay Point Fruits range are all infused with natural fruit flavours and include a White with Mango and Peach, a Rosé with Raspberry and Lemon and an additional Rosé with Cherry and Kiwi.
“We strongly feel this brand extension will be an attractive drink for the younger adult consumers, of which normal wine does not appeal and is simply too dry,” adds Giacobbi.
Quality products, competitive pricing and convenience are key elements to success when operating as an independent retailer. Food and drinks to-go is a category at the heart of convenience shopping, which is also more recently supported by customers doing regular top-up shops throughout the week.
“Retailers need to consider the entire customer journey and find ways to engage and support customers at each point,” comments Giacobbi. “Ask yourself, do you have a niche? Are your displays innovative? Are your product offerings differentiated to the other convenience store that’s 2 minutes down the road? Will customers find what they need with ease? If simple elements such as these are taken into consideration, you should see a positive impact on sales that all stems from simply engaging with the customer and creating a successful personal shopping experience that hopefully generates repeat purchasing.”
Summer socialising opportunities require cold drinks, ready to go. It’s a great time for sales of in store chilled offerings and it all starts with the Display Fridge. Get this right and sales of Summer drinks will follow.
With prices starting at £650 exc VAT, Husky PRO Display Fridges are free to merchandise as retailers wish, are dairy-safe for cross merchandising of food and drink and feature adjustable shelving and full length LED lighting to display all bottle sizes.
The Husky PRO Display Fridge range is hard working, efficient and brilliantly-lit and supported by an premium delivery and after sales service. That’s why along with matching PRO Freezers, they are Husky’s top sellers to convenience stores.
Retailers who buy a Husky product can spread the payment over 6 months interest free. The free mainland UK delivery service incorporates unpacking, ground floor positioning in place and packaging removal service as opposed to a limited kerbside only delivery. Collection and recycling of the old unit is also available at a small cost.
Sally Bentley, Director of Sales and Customer Service, explains: “We are proud that 97% of customers would re-purchase from Husky again. Retailers are dealing directly with the manufacturer so our product knowledge is first class and backed up by a 2 year parts and labour warranty on all purchases. Although our equipment is designed for long life, we appreciate that retailers want that extra peace of mind.”
There is also an economic benefit of investing in new equipment. Modern commercial fridges and freezers use less energy than old equipment resulting in lower electricity bills.
Husky recommends retailers check with sellers that their equipment complies with the new 2020 regulations on refrigerant gases.
Sally Bentley adds: “In 2019 Husky will manufacture all of its products using Hydrocarbon refrigerants only which are compliant with the new 2020 regulations and energy efficient”.