Welcome to The Grocery Trader’s first Barbeque feature of 2015. You’d better believe it – winter is now officially halfway through. In a few short months it’ll be summer and barbecue time once again. Close your eyes and smell the charcoal!

chazThe market research experts Mintel say two in three adults eat food cooked on the barbecue (summer 2010 figures), which equates to 120 m barbecue occasions per annum. The UK barbecue market has shown healthy growth in recent years, helped by better weather, a key driver of barbecue occasions, since the washout summer of 2007. The trend for staying in and entertaining at home instead of going out has also been a key growth factor in recent years.

And there’s room for more growth. Mintel say 12 million adults would like to see more premium products. Some 7 million adults see barbecuing as time-consuming and might be won over by quick and easy or even pre-cooked options. Healthy or light barbecue dishes stand to appeal to a further 7 million people who see barbecue foods as often unhealthy. Promoting cooking on the barbecue as a cooking method on its own right could benefit the sector by supporting more frequent usage, as currently only one in five people who eat barbecue food say they use the barbecue to just cook for the family.

On the Barbeque products front, there’s plenty in store for consumers to enjoy. The combination of growing interest in food and cooking, and our love affair with foreign food, particularly if it’s spicy, continues to provide opportunities for exciting flavours and premium products.

More exotic and stronger flavours have tended to enjoy rising popularity, with chilli and other hot peppers the top component. A strong performer here is Encona Sauces, whose best selling products West Indian Original Hot Pepper Sauce and Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce are ideal for the BBQ.

Are your shoppers looking for “something completely different”? Convenient, uniquely tasty, quick and easy to prepare, SPAM® Chopped Pork and Ham is the ideal meat to provide BBQ guests with al fresco recipes they won’t forget this spring and summer.

The best news is, the barbeque?bonanza doesn’t look like stopping?any time soon, given the surge in numbers of 25-34-year-olds with their high usage of barbecue foods and keen interest in cooking on the barbecue. These factors should send the market surging to a predicted £2.3bn in 2015.

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