Even as the on-trade reopens, at-home occasions are likely to remain popular as Brits reunite with family and friends this summer.

With spontaneous socialising set to be the norm this summer, consumers will be looking to retail outlets to stock up for these events.

Supermarkets can benefit from fulfilling some of the experiences previously found in the on trade, that consumers are now looking to enjoy at home.

For example, by offering ‘dine in’ meals and experiences at home, such as glassware and draft solutions, retailers can make themselves one-stop-shops and encourage greater basket spend.

Beer has become a new staple at mealtimes, with three out of five beers now consumed with food (Kantar).

As such, beer and food pairings present an opportunity for retailers to appeal to a new audience at cater to the at-home occasion. Ready-made bundles, such as beer and pizza meal deals proved popular last year and are a great way for stores to maximise shopper spend.

Jessica Markowski, Convenience Sales Director at Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, comments: “We’re expecting seltzers to be huge this summer, as Brits seek out light, ready-to-drink options for spontaneous gatherings with friends.”

Seltzers have a proven track record of sales growth during the summer months, BBG saw a 36% uplift in July and August 2020 (Nielsen).

The recently launched Bud Light Seltzer, available in lemon-lime, passionfruit, and strawberry flavours, is a great choice for those looking for refreshing, naturally flavoured options this summer. This new range of seltzers will also enable retailers leverage the popularity of parent brand, Bud Light, among millennial drinkers, with the under 35s more drawn towards easy-to-drink formats such as seltzers (Kantar).

“Retailers can maximise basket spend by merchandising seltzers alongside popular picnic or BBQ items this summer,” suggests Markowski.

World beer’s popularity soared last year, becoming the fastest growing segment within total beer and cider with particularly strong performance seen during the summer months (Nielsen). As the temperate rises, Corona is a valuable addition to in-store displays – the sunshine beer is the most valuable World Beer brand (Nielsen) and a lucrative opportunity for retailers this summer. Merchandising Corona alongside limes is a simple way to encourage greater spend in store during the summer months.

Nick Williamson, Marketing Director at Campari Group UK, comments: “The return of long-awaited sporting occasions are fantastic opportunities for consumers to come together at-home to celebrate this summer. With the weather also warming up, BBQ season presents an opportunity for consumers to mix up their mealtimes and explore new drinks during these al fresco dining occasions.”

BBQs saw a spurt in popularity last year – becoming the UK’s number one summer at-home leisure activity.

“We expect to see BBQs continue to be a real opportunity for retailers this summer, as people look to make the best of their time spent at home,” adds Williamson.

Pairing food alongside cocktail essentials in-store is a great way for retailers to capitalise on this occasion.

In fact, cocktails enjoyed alongside food is a growing trend, whereby 48% of consumers now choose a cocktail to accompany a meal (CGA). The demand for Spritz serves is also growing. A third of consumers are opting for sparkling cocktails (CGA), while more refreshing cocktails such as the Aperol Spritz are now the preferred choice for 43% of cocktail drinkers (CGA).

With this in mind, light and refreshing cocktails lend themselves perfectly to al fresco dining occasions – that are also great for sharing. Consumers will be looking for shareable formats they can enjoy at home with friends and family outside, as 2020 saw a 35% YOY increase in consumers enjoying cocktails at home. As the best-selling branded cocktail in the UK (CGA) and a leader in the Spritz category, the Aperol Spritz offers a true taste of Italy this summer.

“A combination of Aperol, Prosecco and a dash of soda water, this simple serve can be made even more appealing to shoppers with multi-buy offers in-store, something retailers should consider as part of a summer sales strategy,” says Williamson.

Tapping into the popularity of refreshing serves in a new and exciting way, and catering to the surge in demand for at-home cocktails, is the Campari Gin & Tonic. A reimagining of a quintessentially British classic – the G&T – this serve brings an air of Milanese style to every occasion. With 39% of consumers looking to try different alcoholic drinks (Kantar), the Campari Gin & Tonic, with its vibrant red hue, is a great and simple-to-make option.

Both the Aperol Spritz and Campari Gin & Tonic hold further in-store potential – such as helping retailers to increase basket spend through cross-category merchandising. Positioning Aperol alongside Prosecco, or providing cross-category bundles in-store – such as grouping Campari with traditional gin and tonic staples – means retailers can reap the rewards from shoppers looking to try something new across the summer and elevate the drinking experience.

“Additionally, retailers looking for another way to tap into the summer drinks market should look no further than rum – specifically Jamaica Rum, synonymous with the vibrant spirit of the Caribbean,” suggests Williamson.

The rum category saw strong performance last year recording +11.5% growth YOY (Nielsen), presenting a great opportunity for retailers to tap into a growing category. Wray & Nephew is characterised by citrus, pear, and pineapple notes, making it the perfect addition to any summer event – such as a BBQ.

Retailers can help their customers to enjoy the versatility of Wray & Nephew this summer by recommending the classic Wray Rum Punch serve. With a 63% ABV, Wray & Nephew’s complex flavour adds a unique character to cocktails and sits at the heart of an authentic Jamaican rum punch.

“As a simple three ingredient cocktail, retailers can create an impactful display in store by merchandising key ingredients such as pineapple juice, pomegranate juice and Wray & Nephew together,” adds Williamson. “For those consumers looking for a more straightforward serve, Wray & Nephew is the perfect companion to ginger beer or Ting with a fresh wedge of lime for a refreshing taste of summer, perfect for adding Jamaican flair to any summer drinking occasion.”

Hannah Dawson, Head of Category Development, Off-Trade at Diageo, comments: “Social occasions are becoming increasingly diverse to give choice to those who choose not to drink alcohol as well as those who do. Therefore, there has never been a better time for retailers to revamp their no and low drinks offering to deliver on high quality taste and experience.”

Across the off-trade, no and low spirits are the fastest growing no and low segment with volume sales at +251% (Nielsen). As a result, Diageo recommends placing recognisable category leaders on shelf, such as Gordon’s 0.0% which launched in December 2020 and is already the top selling no and low spirit in the off-trade (Nielsen), and the newly launched Tanqueray 0.0%, to encourage people to trade-up.

Lockdown in 2020 undoubtedly moved a lot of business and trading online as consumers became increasingly accustomed to shopping digitally.

“In 2021, retailers would benefit from continuing to engage effectively with customers digitally, as this can drive both sales and footfall into bricks and mortar stores,” adds Dawson. “Online presence can be a key driver for growth, so retailers that allow customers to browse products online or receive promotions on their mobile encouraging them to spend, will reap the benefits of doing so. Retailers can also inspire customers to create serves at home which tap into the at-home occasion, by posting high-quality images of cocktails on social media platforms which include ingredients available in store.”

Amanda Baxter, Mateus Business Manager, at Liberty Wines, comments: “Canned wine continues to go from strength to strength, as a convenient format that can be consumed immediately – ideal for barbeques, meeting friends in the park or travelling to events as well as customers taking this on-the-go format to holiday homes around the UK this summer.”

Mateus Rosé has launched a range of 250ml cans. Being the no.1 rosé brand on social media, the Mateus brand is well placed to drive sales in the cans category to a younger audience via our valued convenience retailers.

“The unique circumstances of the past year have driven phenomenal growth for the alcoholic drinks sector in convenience retail,” adds Baxter. “As customers have rediscovered at-home entertainment, they have equally rediscovered the range and variety that is available on their doorstep. As we slowly return to normality, it will be important for retailers to continue to focus on stocking a range that perfectly fits the impulse entertaining occasion, such as chilled wine from well-known brands.”

Mateus has launched a large summer drive. By visiting mateus.my-pp.com retailers can win stock, request their free POS kit and get further money off vouchers by showing their in store displays as well as keep up to date on future offers.

“Famous brands make for an easy impulse purchase decision,” says Baxter. “Merchandising BBQs, snacks and wine close together to encourage a ‘bundle’ purchase and having POS to prompt a linked purchase would help to drive sales.”

Matt Gouldsmith, Channel Director, Wholesale, Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I, comments: “We have seen a long-term trend towards drinks with lower sugar as consumers are becoming more aware of their health and wellbeing.

With 45.8% (IRI) of soft drinks shoppers agreeing they “try to lead a healthy lifestyle”, retailers should ensure their chillers are stocked up on lower-sugar soft drinks such as Ribena Light and Lucozade Zero to capitalise on the ongoing trend towards lower-sugar choices this summer.”

In fact, this segment of the market is extremely important in contributing to the growth of take-home soft drinks with Diet & Zero drinks growing 19.3% (Kantar) and outperforming the total drink-later market.

Lucozade Zero has expanded its range with the brand’s first ever exclusive flavour launch – Lucozade Zero Tropical – available now.

Flavours is another strong area of growth for the soft drinks category. The Lucozade Energy range has already contributed a significant £60.7M (IRI) worth of sales to the energy category, showing just how important it is for retailers to offer a diverse selection for shoppers to choose from this summer. Last year, Lucozade Energy introduced a cool new addition to its category-leading range – Lucozade Energy Citrus Chill. The lemon & lime flavour is perfectly refreshing for the summer months and is available in 380ML PMP and standard packs.


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