Welcome to The Grocery Trader’s first Barbeque feature of 2011. Here’s a warming thought: we’re more than halfway through the winter. In a few short months it’ll be summer and barbecue time once again.

A combination of good weather and people cutting down eating out and cooking at home instead, has sparked Britain’s barbeque food market to grow an estimated 65% from 2005-2010, reaching £1.7 billion, on the back of 120 million barbecue occasions a year. That’s the word from research experts Mintel.

Some hardy souls enjoy barbeques in the rain, but generally they are strongly associated with good weather. Hence summer 2010, which had less rainfall than previous years, saw a substantial increase in barbeque occasions. Not only that, the World Cup provided the perfect excuse for people to get their mates in to watch the game, preferably outdoors, and afterwards stay outside and sink a few more beers round the barbie. And when the football was over, the barbeques carried on.

There’s no World Cup this year, but we can look forward to the glorious 10-day stretch of Easter, the Royal Wedding and May Bank Holiday to kick off the barbeque season.

On the Barbeque products front, there’s a lot for consumers to enjoy. The combination of growing interest in food and cooking, which began before the recession, and the increasing popularity of foreign food, particularly if it’s spicy, continues to provide opportunities for exciting flavours and premium products. The onset of the recession has seen brands and retailers look to polish their value credentials in all areas, including barbecue food, however, premium NPD has remained robust.

More exotic and stronger flavours have tended to enjoy rising popularity, with chilli and other hot peppers the top flavour component. A leader in this area is Encona Sauces, whose best selling products West Indian Original Hot Pepper Sauce and Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce are ideally suited to the BBQ market,

And it’s not just lads and dads who like hot sauces at barbeques! The British food establishment is catching on too. Wanis’s Jamaica Sun Traditional Jerk Seasoning recently won Gold at the 2010 Great Taste Awards.

The barbeque bonanza doesn’t look like stopping any time soon. The market looks set to benefit from the projected rise in the number of ABs and C2s from 2010 to 2015. These groups are among the most likely to own barbecues and hold positive attitudes towards cooking on the barbecue. The expected rapid growth of 25-34-year-olds over the five years to 2015 bodes well, given their high usage of barbecue foods and keen interest in cooking on the barbecue. This should take the market from £1.7bn in 2010 to £2.3bn in 2015.

The Grocery Trader

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