Welcome to the Grocery Trader’s Big Night In feature. April is the goto month for showers but at least we’re finally saying good riddance to winter after those long dark months. Soon it’ll be time to head out into the garden for anyone fortunate enough to have one, adding an outdoors dimension to Big Nights In. Wherever they live, people don’t need much encouragement to celebrate, but what they really want is the food and drink to do it. Which is where grocery retailers come in.

The Big Night In is in consumers’ DNA, as are the brands they look to on these occasions. If you go to the Museum of Brands in London and take a walk through the years and see the grocery products from past eras alongside the toys and gizmos from the time, you will be staggered at how long some of the brands that are popular now have been around. In this feature we have reports from Pladis and Mondelez, two of the biggest suppliers of popular products in this category. Both of these company names are newish, but the brands they offer have been around a long time and are bywords to consumers looking for treats for sharing, as are many other products that consumers count on for their Big Night In.

Big Nights In can be simple or elaborate. Can’t cook, won’t cook? How about packaged pizzas and salads, some pre-packed puds and assorted nibbles? The beauty of a Big Night In is that shoppers can focus these occasions on anything they like – an old school games evening, dusting off the Nintendo or Scalextric set; a lads’ evening watching football; a girls’ night for a romantic movie; an intimate box set binge watch; getting together with a bunch of friends for a classic TV night like Comic Relief or Eurovision, in whatever fancy dress floats your boat!

Even if they’re scared to pick up a saucepan the rest of the time, consumers can still get creative on a Big Night In, doing something as simple as microwaving some hot snacks, including their favourite world foods, and putting out some dips and salads.

Many shoppers go further, because they’re inspired these days after decades of TV cooks and bold enough to have a go. Amazingly it’s 20 years since Jamie Oliver’s first Naked Chef TV programme, which changed everything. At seven series old, The Great British Bake Off is a mere spring chicken by comparison, though it’s got millions of unlikely people addicted to baking. This fresh blast of excitement around scratch cooking has spilt over into Big Nights In and given consumers confidence to cooking for friends without the fear of falling on their faces.

So, bish bosh, here’s your nosh! Give your shoppers what they want, to make the most of the Big Night In opportunity.

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