The Big Night In is one of the most undervalued selling opportunities in British grocery retailing – and the good news is, it’s available to every retailer. Big Night In is huge. Take all the times consumers have friends and family round for an evening in, multiply those occasions by the myriad products shoppers are likely to buy for such moments, and hey presto! You have an instant super-category, which every size store can profit from.

chazIn our era of on-line shopping and omni-channel retailing, we need to value occasions that bring shoppers into stores, all set to spend and looking forward to enjoying themselves without skimping. The Big Night In is one of these opportunities that continue to draw shoppers into stores all year round.

You don’t have to look very far for a ‘Big Night In’ opportunity. As we went to press, the Rugby World Cup was set to have lovers of the sport and their friends and families scrumming down around their TV sets, with plenty of time before, during and after each match to get stuck into food and drink for sharing. The Rugby World Cup will be gripping Britain’s Rugby lovers in a headlock until the end of October, marking the start of a Big Night In season that runs from now through Halloween and Bonfire Night and into the New Year.

Half time, full time, any time, micro snacks come into their own when it comes to meeting shopper demand for easy-to-prepare hot food that can be enjoyed as part of a Big Night In, says John Armstrong, Marketing Director of Kepak Convenience Foods, manufacturer of Rustlers, the UK’s best-selling micro snack. The days when people opted for a couple of packets of crisps and a few beers during a Big Night In are long gone, says Armstrong. Instead, they want a selection of hot and cold food that can be prepared in next to no time, without having to interrupt their social fix for more than a moment.

Big Nights In are also about sweet treats, and ‘Evening snacking’ is worth £5.2 billion, currently growing 2.8% annually, with chocolate the biggest category by value, followed by biscuits, crisps, and fruit. That’s the story from Mondelez International, which operates in a majority of the evening snacking top 10. Chocolate confectionery – the largest market sector at over £3.6 billion – is continuing to grow thanks to the winning combination of tempting new products and the rise of ‘Night In’ sharing occasions.

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