Here we are in April, and we’re still shivering! Not to worry – if it’s cold outside, it’s time for a Big Night In.

chazThis March just gone has been officially recognised as the joint second coldest since records began over 100 years ago. March’s average temperatures matched March 1947, beaten only by March 1962.

The Easter long weekend has been and gone, but the party isn’t over. Every night brings the opportunity to make it a ‘Big’ one, so do your bit to help make it special for your shoppers.

Whatever the weather’s doing this spring, make sure your shelves are stocked ready for people planning a Big Night In, with food and drink and other goodies for shoppers wanting to treat themselves and their families and friends.

It’s not just the weather that’s driving Big Night In sales: the rising cost of dining out is also providing a significant boost. As young adults spend more time at home in the evenings, many are eating hot snacking products such as Rustlers and ZUGO’s Deli Café while watching movies, playing on games consoles or spending time online.

People enjoying a night in, whether it’s a few drinks with friends, watching a film or playing the latest computer games, want tasty, filling snacks that don’t interrupt what they’re doing, says Angela Daulby at Kepak Convenience Foods, market leader in the UK’s hot snacking market.

Bagged sweets, another important part of the Big Night In, continue to drive the confectionery category and the growth in this sector is keeping the sector buoyant according to Bonds Confectionery MD Philip Courtenay-Luck, who says Bonds’ re-vamped Sweetshop range of traditional bagged products grew 23% year on year in 2012, outperforming the market by a big margin.

Whether we’re comfortably off or just getting by, we’re all careful with our money these days, and we know it’s cheaper to entertain at home than to go out.

One area that’s really benefiting from the Big Night In boom is Home Baking. Not long ago dismissed as an aisle in decline, these days it seems like everyone’s baking as part of their home entertaining. With the amount of airtime given to baking on TV, and baking books in the bestsellers lists, Home Baking is huge and it’s common to see flour and sugar fixtures in superstores looking run down, as more and more shoppers try their hand at baking.

So don’t miss out – stay stocked up and catch those ‘Big Night In’ profits in your stores this spring.

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