Welcome to The Grocery Trader’s first Barbeque feature of 2012. You’d better believe it – winter is now past halfway through. In a few short months it’ll be summer and barbecue time once again. Shut your eyes and smell the charcoal!

Research experts Mintel estimate Britain’s barbeque food market grew two thirds from 2005-2010 to £1.7 billion, on the back of 120 million barbecue occasions a year, due to a combination of good weather and people doing more cooking at home.

Some people out there actually enjoy barbeques in the rain. Perhaps it reminds them of their youth spent in the mud at music festivals, but generally BBQ’s are more associated with good weather. Among recent summers 2010 stands out as seeing a substantial increase in barbeque occasions. England failed dismally in South Africa, but at least the World Cup provided the perfect excuse for people to get their mates in to watch the game, preferably outdoors, then stay outside and sink a few more beers round the barbie.

There’s no World Cup this year, but we can look forward to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee from 2-5 June, followed by the Olympics from 25 July-12 August, spurring Britain’s barbeque habit to new heights.

On the Barbeque products front, there’s plenty in store for consumers to enjoy. The combination of growing interest in food and cooking, which began before the recession, and our love affair with foreign food, particularly if it’s spicy, continues to provide opportunities for exciting flavours and premium products. The chilly economy has seen brands and retailers polishing their value credentials in all areas, including barbecue food, but premium products are still going strong.

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.

The best news is, the barbeque bonanza doesn’t look like stopping any time soon, given the projected rise in the number of ABs and C2s between now and 2015. These consumers are among the most likely to own barbecues, and feel passionate about cooking on them. The expected surge in numbers of 25-34-year-olds through to 2015 also bodes well, given their high usage of barbecue foods and keen interest in cooking on the barbecue. These factors should send the market surging to £2.3bn in 2015.

The Grocery Trader

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