Summer? ‘Tis the season to stock up for Christmas


While 2020 didn’t provide the Christmas we’d all hoped for, and 2021 got off to an extremely uncertain start, fine food distributor Cotswold Fayre is urging retailers to plan ahead and think big for this year’s festive period. With so many missed events and occasions, families and friends are predicted to be planning even bigger celebrations than usual for the end of the year.

“With restrictions easing, and consumers looking to a brighter future and planning social gatherings, we’re expecting to see significant spending on food and drink this Christmas as consumers look to luxuries and treats to celebrate together,” said Paul Hargreaves, chief executive at Cotswold Fayre.

“As we head into the summer months, Christmas might not yet be on the radar for consumers, but it is important for retailers to start planning ahead. We’ve already seen plenty of Christmas orders coming through, larger than last year, with retailers keen to stock up and get ready for the festive season. There’s bound to be a bigger focus on sharing, parties and gatherings this year too – as well as seeking out even more special treats as a result of the missed Christmas of 2020 for many. This means there’s a real opportunity to maximise footfall and sales by getting stock on shelf early, creating instore theatre, and offering a real point of difference, beyond typical ranges found in supermarkets.”

Paul’s top trend predictions for Christmas 2021:

1. MORE VEGAN CHOCOLATE: “Testament to increased consumer demand, this year, we have a bigger vegan offering than ever before in our Christmas catalogue! This includes plenty of vegan alternatives to Christmas favourites, as well premium products for gifting. The trend towards vegan confectionery continues to grow, so we expect brands like Booja Booja and its range of vegan, organic chocolate truffles to perform well. With flavours including Hazelnut Crunch, Espresso Chocolate, Honeycomb Caramel and Salted Almond, there’s really something for everyone to enjoy! Also new for this year, is the Probios organic vegan Panettone, made with spelt – which is sure to be a hit over the festive period, meaning no one misses out on Panettone this year!”

2. BUY B CORP: “As Cotswold Fayre was one of the first companies in the UK to certify as a B Corporation, we’re always looking to support other B Corps. This year’s Christmas catalogue features more B Corp suppliers than ever before – that’s 21 in total, doubling in the last year alone. Consumers are always on the lookout for brilliant brands and products that are also ‘good for the world’ – and there are certainly plenty of these to choose from!”

3. BRING A BOTTLE: “Consumers are always on the lookout for unusual gifts at Christmas time, or something just a little bit different for hard-to-buy-for recipients. This year we’ve included more gift sets than ever before and believe that these will prove popular, as an alternative to a bottle of fizz or chocolates. There are plenty of alcoholic options to choose from like Warner’s Distillery Pink By Nature Gift Collection offering 3 x 50ml gins, – or for Christmas novelty fans, choose the company’s Christmas Cake Gin! Those looking for a non-alcoholic option can look to brands like Gimber, offering a non-alcoholic organic ginger concentrate with lemon, herbs and spices, for a bit of bite.”

4. RUM IN THE SPOTLIGHT: “I’ve long been a believer that the gin bubble is ready to burst, and I’m confident it’ll happen this year! In 2020 sales of gin started to slow, and I expect rum to step in and take its place. A new addition to the Cotswold Fayre range for 2021 is Hattiers Rum, blended and bottled in Devon. As a B Corp, Hattiers meets the highest standards of social and environmental impact – and is now the first British B Corp Rum, and only the second in the world. Choose from a range of large aged, bottled rum premium reserve, white rum or navy strength rum!”

5. CHRISTMAS CRISPS: “Perhaps surprisingly… two of the top bestsellers for Christmas 2020 were Mackie’s Turkey & Stuffing and Pigs in Blankets flavoured crisps. We’re expecting these novelty flavours to do well again this year, with great on shelf stand out and ’tryability’! The company has also introduced a new flavour, Boxing Day Curry, so it will be interesting to see how this performs too and we’re all looking forward to a taste test!”

6. HOME IS WHERE THE GIFTS ARE: “We are really excited to be expanding our non-food range, with a number of household products – including some fantastic seasonal lines too. Summerdown Mints – supplier of English peppermints, chocolate and teas has recently expanded its range to include hand wash, hand and body lotions, shower and bath products, as well as candles, diffusers and room sprays, all featuring the signature mint and lemongrass fragrance. We’re also really excited to be stocking Eco Warrior Soap from the Little Soap Company. When it comes to offering consumers something different, this brand really delivers with plastic free, vegan, sustainable soaps featuring a range of bold, punchy flavours – and gift packs too! This is a great example of creating standout from the supermarkets.”

7. DON’T FORGET THE PETS: “Advent calendars for pets are a new addition for 2021, and I’m really interested to see how these perform. Pets are part of the family after all, and shouldn’t be left out of the celebrations, with the Scrumbles range offering advent calendar options for cats and dogs. Or choose from premium baked Santa Paws treats from The Dog Treat Company, and plastic free packaging Gingerbread or Christmas Lunch soft baked dog chews from Denzel’s!”

8. ADVENTUROUS ADVENT: “I always enjoy seeing what’s next for advent calendars, and this year is no different, with some amazing offerings, and of course some more unusual calendars. For non-chocolate options, this year sees the introduction of the Black Liquorice Company’s advent calendar, perfect for liquorice lovers! Or new from Pukka, the Days of Christmas calendar, perfect for tasting incredible organic tea as you countdown to Christmas!”

9. GET READY TO PARTY: “Finally, signs are looking positive for a ‘normal’ Christmas this year, albeit with an element of the ‘new normal’. Party products to make at home, like the Confiletas range of mini vol au vont cases, tartlets, and crispy shells are a great option for consumers looking for easy, ready to fill canapes to serve at home and show-off their lockdown culinary skills to friends and family too.”

Inspired? You can download your copy of the NEW Cotswold Fayre Christmas catalogue from: