With the 2016 barbecue season fast approaching, it’s time for multiple grocers to get their fixtures ready for when the weather hots up and people head out into the garden. After the dreary cold, wet winter months and the hit and miss spring, it’s fingers crossed for a glorious summer.

bill-new-greyBarbies are big business and growing bigger every year, up from an estimated 9 million BBQ occasions in 1997 to over 120 million in 2015. That’s the message from the organisers of National BBQ Week, a major force in fuelling the growth of BBQ culture in this country and a catalyst for growth, which returns to Britain for the 20th time, from May 30th to June 5th. One of the UK’s biggest Awareness Weeks, National BBQ Week 2016 comprises a high-profile media and social media campaign with supporting mobile apps, promotions and in-store activity.

Sunny days are an essential ingredient of a good barbie. Due to the unpredictability of our glorious weather, as Emma Hunt, Vimto’s Head of Marketing reminds us, barbecues here are often more impromptu than planned, with consumers being more likely to grab what they need at the last minute from the shops in terms of food and drink.

That said, a large number of people like to get organised properly, set a day for their barbecue, invite friends and family round and carry on, rain or shine.

It’s part of being British, like taking the TV or these days the laptop into the garden to enjoy the big sporting events while the burgers sizzle on the charcoal and the drinks chill in the ice bucket.

In recent years the UK’s barbecue habit has been boosted by the 2008 crash. This has had a lasting effect in making consumers re-think their spending habits generally, including seeing home entertaining as a cost effective alternative to eating out and going to the pub.

Speaking of take home drinks, beers and ciders are an essential part of the BBQ for many consumers. HEINEKEN, Britain’s leading cider and beer business has an unrivalled portfolio of drinks that are perfect for the barbecue. The list includes Foster’s, Heineken, Amstel, Strongbow, Desperados, Kronenbourg1664, John Smith’s and Bulmers and a full range of niche and speciality brands.

Foreign travel to places like Australia, America and the Caribbean has had a strong influence on our expectations of the barbecue experience. At the same time the combination of cheaper travel to exotic destinations and more world foods available here means shoppers are bringing their favourite flavours from around the world to their barbecue. Hence the barbecue season is the perfect time for retailers to reconsider their sauces and condiments offering, says Sam Bidgood at Grace Foods, whose range of sauces and marinades from around the world caters to a wide spectrum of tastes. Grace also provides a range of refreshing soft drinks to quench discerning thirsts.

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