The next two years could be the hottest on record, says the Met Office, but as the rest of the world battles heat waves, summers here and in Europe may well become cooler. Hopefully it will be warmer and brighter by the end of March when Easter comes, at which point some hardy Brits might well venture out into the garden and have their first barbecue of the year. So the multiple grocers need to be ready with supplies of food and drink for barbecues.

chazThe barbeque season will be well under way by the beginning of May, which is bookended by the Early May Bank Holiday on Monday 2nd and Spring Bank Holiday four weeks later.

Whether you’re a veggie or a carnivore, either way the sight, sound and smell of a sizzling barbecue has a profound effect on the appetite. We tend to think of barbecues happening in hot countries – beach barbecues in Australia or roadside barbecues out of oil drums in Jamaica – but cooking and serving food out of doors adds considerably to its appeal wherever you are, even if you’re in Kingston on Thames not Kingston JA.

Barbecuing in Britain is a largely male ritual. A high proportion of men are content to let their wives or girlfriends cook the rest of the time, but when summer comes and it’s hot enough for barbecues, the lads assert their right to get their mates round, spark the charcoal and take charge of handing out the drinks and overcooking the meat until it looks like it’s been scorched by a flamethrower. Men shop for the barbecue with much the same enthusiasm as they cook on it, so during the season it’s vital to have barbecue related food and drink clearly visible and easy to shop in the evenings and at weekends.

Finally, one of the fastest growing areas of the barbeque market is sauces and marinades, led by Encona. Global travel, long haul holidays and adventurous TV cooks like Jamie and Nigella have made Brits much bolder about spicy foods than they were, and much the same goes for enhancing barbecued foods with spicy marinades and sauces. Don’t forget, barbecuing is something for the whole family to enjoy, so be sure to include some gentler sauces for the kids in your range.

BILL REDMOND

Features Editor

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