Summer is now really here and this means that the smell of burning coals and gently sizzling sausages drifts around the country. Nobody can deny that we Brits love a BBQ; In fact last year, despite the weather being less than favourable, we barbecued on 10 million more occasions than in 2012 (Kantar WorldPanel 52 w/e 7 December 2014). Our passion is, in part, down to our enjoyment of the outdoor cooking experience. However, it is also because we simply can’t get enough of BBQ flavours – we only have to look at the huge rise in popularity over the past year of anything with “pulled pork” in its title to see this.
This is a trend that a number of brands have spotted. For example, Jack Daniels has recently extended its range of BBQ sauces with a new variant, Vitacress Herbs has launched a new BBQ mix into M&S and Budweiser has also entered the BBQ arena by introducing bespoke BBQ packaging. Additionally, Cancer Research is running a campaign this July where people say “Burger off” to Cancer by holding a BBQ to raise funds and awareness for the disease.
So, in anticipation of a warm summer, and with BBQ’s being a “hot topic” again (so to speak), we thought we would ask our experts for their views on the opportunities and challenges for the category.
Deborah Hall – Shopper Expert
Although some shoppers do shop for BBQ’s as part of their weekly shop (on the off chance that the weather will be good!), as our climate is so unpredictable, shopping for barbecues is often on the spur of the moment. In these situations, shoppers will do a top up shop specifically for BBQ food. They are therefore looking for their shop to be as quick and easy as possible so, a dedicated BBQ section in store offering all items needed for a BBQ (similar to the specific BBQ sections that Asda and Tesco offer online) would be beneficial.
This dedicated section could be either on an aisle end or in a clearly signposted section of an aisle. By having not only BBQ meat, but also salads and accompaniments; sauces, drinks etc. all together in one place, shoppers would be able to make more efficient decisions as to what to buy. Having all products in one place would also help less confident BBQ’ers by giving them complete meal suggestions and solutions for this cooking occasion. It could also benefit brands and retailers, as it is likely to encourage additional and cross category purchasing.
Abi Olingschlaeger – Qualitative Expert
We know that BBQ food is a guaranteed winner for consumers across Europe, and very little changes in terms of what consumers want and expect from a BBQ across different countries. When consumers are asked to say the first word that comes to mind when they think about BBQs, they invariably come up with words like ‘fun’, ‘friends’ ‘social’ and ‘summer’. As expected, they also described the food as being ‘tasty’, ‘juicy’ and ‘smoky’. There are ‘no rules’, which gives brands an unusual opportunity to ‘play around’ and try new things.
Consumers view BBQs as an ‘event’, they expect a variety of meats and dishes that will cater to everyone’s needs. It’s a ‘grazing’ occasion, so the food must be finger-friendly and easy to handle, less formal than indoor dining. Over the years, consumers have become more adventurous in their BBQing and marinades, no longer satisfied with a plain burger or sausage. All of this means that the brands who offer new and exciting foods that are easy to cook and eat are on to a winner.
What about getting that BBQ vibe going on indoors? Ultimately, consumers struggle to create the same BBQ experience indoors. There’s a disconnect between what consumers want, and what they can create in their own homes – so any brand that can help consumers crack this is on the road to success.
Sara Spinks – Product and Innovation Expert
BBQs in Blighty – oh the excitement, oh the risk! The excitement at the prospect of sunshine, laughter and plenty of great food and drink, but also perhaps something a little different this year? A little more adventurous than the ‘usual’ bangers and burgers. Supermarkets try to meet this desire for ‘new’ with a plethora of suggestions and temptations all bowing to Dad’s need to surpass expectations and be man of the match.
The odds are stacked. Expectations are high.
There is an opportunity now for manufacturers to feed this most anticipated of British summer rituals. But how do we bridge the gap between going with the traditional outdoor BBQ and bringing it all inside? The potential is there to create a ‘BBQ occasion’ whatever the weather; bakery, fresh, chilled, frozen, the list is endless…. and we can help target opportunities and optimise your offerings for this ripe and most enthusiastic of audiences!Subscribe