In the wake of Covid-19, enjoying and making an occasion of watching the Euro 2021 will certainly be different this year.

With many consumers still reluctant or unable to head out to pubs and bars, sports fans will be keen to stock up on their favourite snacks to mark the occasion and celebrate at home.

“Retailers should support consumers in their mission to make watching the big games feel like more of an occasion and offer promotions,” suggests Matt Collins, Trading Director at KP Snacks. “Independent stores can help families by stocking everyday treats which add fun and excitement to those ‘together time’ moments. To maximise on these shopping missions, independent retailers should consider dedicated displays to make shopping as simple as possible.”

The Sharing segment is strong and growing. Worth £1.3bn, the largest within CSN, it’s currently experiencing growth of +9.8% (Nielsen). 38% of all convenience bagged snack sales are sharing (Nielsen). KP Snacks has a range of products that covers all of consumers’ ‘Together Time’ needs.

“KP Snacks offers a range of tasty snacks. From our best-selling KP Nuts, perfect when paired with a cold beer, to our Tyrrells crisps, perfect for making those special moments feel a little more premium,” adds Collins. “We have always been passionate about helping to create special moments of togetherness and are constantly looking for ways to improve the in-home experience and time spent with family and friends, especially while consumers are having to spend more time at home.”

Neil Baker, Head of Category Management at Budweiser Brewing Group, comments: “The long-awaited Euros tournament represents a significant opportunity for retailers to boost sales across the beer category this summer, especially given heightened consumer excitement at watching the first major football tournament since the outbreak of the pandemic. Televised sport is a huge driver for at-home beer consumption – 2018’s FIFA World Cup, the last big tournament on our screens, drove the biggest monthly sales in category history. There is also a clear correlation between the longer the England team remains in a football tournament and beer sales. Given the England team is among the favourites to win this summer, retailers have a real opportunity to boost sales and should look to stock up well ahead of kick off.”

The Budweiser family will play a big part in maximising this sales opportunity, as the official beers of the England Men’s football team. Brands linked to key football events can be lucrative for retailers – 68% of England fans think retailers should stock ‘official sponsor’ brands during the tournament, whilst 55% of shoppers are more likely to opt for ‘official sponsor’ brands over their usual beer choices. This presents a unique growth opportunity for retailers stocking Budweiser, Bud Light and Bud Zero products this summer, whilst also providing a range of options to cater to varying consumer preferences.

“Football tournaments also bring an influx of new buyers into the beer category – these shoppers tend to opt for known brands, so stocking the right range of household name beers is the gateway for retailers to increase sales,” Baker adds. “During 2018, and the FIFA World Cup, our brands recorded a 43% uplift in the beer category compared to the same period the previous year, highlighting their potential around the Euros. Retailers should ensure they are not just stocking familiar brands, but that they are using in-store displays to appeal to first-time buyers. Branded displays with clear links to the tournament will be key to boosting sales during this time.”

Last year, new trends emerged and many of these are expected to remain, even as lockdown restrictions ease. For example, increased at-home consumption fuelled by occasions such as the Big Night In, is a trend anticipated to keep growing in the first half of this year. Around the Euros this summer, Budweiser will be running various food promotions to pair with beer too. As beer sales grew by 37.5% in impulse in 2020 (Nielsen), the value of at-home occasions for retailers is clear to see.

These occasions have also accelerated a trend towards premiumisation – almost two thirds of shoppers claimed to be treating themselves at home during the initial lockdown in 2020 (Kantar). Alcohol is an area in which consumers choose to splash out, with 52% of shoppers willing to pay extra for quality when buying alcoholic drinks to have at home (Kantar). Last year, Stella Artois sold 527m pints in the UK Off-Trade and Budweiser grew 29.8% in volume ahead of the total beer category by December 2020 (Nielsen). These brands are still the number one and two most valuable beer brands in the Off-Trade, so a great option for retailers looking to capitalise on the popularity of premium alcohol. Corona also grew in 2020 at nearly double the rate of the total grocery market (Nielsen), maintaining its position as the most valuable World Beer brand in the Off-Trade. World Beer was the fastest growing segment within total beer and cider last year (Nielsen), making it a smart choice to stock ahead of the Euros.

Another consumer trend to note is the increased pairing of beer with food – three out of five beers are now consumed with food (Kantar). This is matched by a surge in popularity for no-and-low alcohol beers at mealtimes: a fifth of UK adults have opted for an alcohol-free variant with their evening meal, while one in 10 has chosen a no-and low-alcohol drink at lunchtime. This creates the opportunity for retailers to drive in-store spend by stocking up on no- and low-alcohol products, such as Budweiser Zero and Stella Artois Alcohol-Free, and cross-merchandising them with food pairings.

“For example, the smooth taste of Budweiser Zero complements a classic hot dog or more contemporary slider,” suggests Baker. “Retailers should position products like these together, in one Euros display, to inspire shoppers and increase spend.”

The return of the Euros will be a huge opportunity for retailers to harness the brand power of the Budweiser family, the only official beers of the English Men’s Football team. Budweiser has a range of activity planned around the Euros this summer including an ATL campaign which will drive consumers in store, where the brand will be providing prizes, giveaways, POS kits and GWP which will help retailers increase footfall and boost sales. Budweiser will also be bringing back limited-edition Stella Artois packaging this summer to help retailers get into the spirit of Wimbledon too.

A multi-million pound campaign with Stella Artois will focus on the at-home food occasion, along with campaigns around favourites such as Corona for at-home and outdoor summer drinking occasions that are big moments for retailers.

Hannah Dawson, Head of Category Development, Off-Trade at Diageo, comments: “Consumers spent a considerable amount of time at home during 2020 and we have seen a step-change in behaviour because of this, whereby many people have looked to emulate the out-of-home experience in their own homes. We can expect this behaviour to continue through 2021 and therefore there is an opportunity for retailers to stock relevant products to help tap into the ‘big night in’ trend.”

Beer remains a very versatile category as it successfully taps into a number of key trends such as balanced choices, taste discovery and premiumisation.

Beer is ranked as the #1 Category within BWS in the UK (Nielsen). The ongoing popularity of the liquid makes it a must-stock for retailers this year.

“Ensuring your range of beers remains updated and relevant will be the best way to continue driving sales this year,” suggests Dawson.

Retailers can also look to help consumers recreate the Guinness ‘on tap’ experience from the comfort of their own homes with the Guinness Draught in Can 4pack & 10pack. Distinctively dark and creamy with a smooth, velvety texture, the iconic taste of Guinness Draught is best served chilled and poured at a 45-degree angle.

It’s also worth considering stocking a range of beer formats, for example 4packs which are the most accessible format allowing easy trial, 330ml bottles which are perfect for sharing as well as 440ml cans which are familiar for everyday occasions throughout the week.

Lloyd Keesmaat, Spokesperson – Pizza, at Dr. Oetker UK, comments: “Unlike other night in occasions, consumers are much more likely to pre-plan purchasing choices around sporting events such as the Euros, as dates for key matches are known in advance. Therefore freezer fillers, like pizza, are the perfect category for independents to stock.”

Dr. Oetker ranges provide consumers with pizzas that cater to a variety of occasions, including key sporting fixtures like the 2021 Euros.

Consumers will be using sporting events such as these to stock up on treats such as frozen pizza, whether they will be enjoyed as a household or whether it will be a social affair.

“Offering deals on these products for multiple purchases, or cross merchandising them with complimentary items, such as desserts or sides can be a good way to entice shoppers to purchase, so retailers should bulk buy and stock up ahead of the sporting season,” suggests Keesmaat.

On these occasions, consumers are looking for an indulgent treat that’s quick to prepare and easy to share with friends and family.

Chicago Town Takeaway range is the UK’s No. 1 frozen sub-brand and replicates that takeaway taste with its unique rising dough base, which freshly bakes in the oven at home, generously topped and with the option to have an indulgent stuffed crust too.

With a cooking time of around 20 minutes Chicago Town’s Takeaway range can be cooked and served during half time, making it the perfect match side companion.

Jeremy Gilboy, founder at St Pierre Groupe comments on behalf of Baker Street: “Summer sporting occasions have always been a key sales opportunity for bakery and now, with the days of eating out beginning to look like a distant memory, the importance of them in driving ‘at home’ dining occasions has grown exponentially.

The retail potential offered by the Euros this year is a promising way of driving footfall and revenue.

In such challenging times for the UK population, at-home eating occasions that focus on relaxing and enjoying quality time are growing faster than any other at-home occasion (Kantar).

“To maximise on the occasion, retailers should stock up on versatile bakery items that will encourage shoppers to buy for multiple meal occasions,” suggests Gilboy. “Shoppers are increasingly looking for variety to compensate for having to eat at home every day so retailers that ensure they’re stocking a range of products that offer quick and convenient wins for these occasions will encourage shoppers to stock up ahead of big matches.”

Bakery products that offer long-life, multi-pack formats, like those from Baker Street, can also help to reduce in-store waste. This similarly benefits consumers who want to reduce the frequency of their shopping trips during the pandemic.

“Of course, it’s important to note the general excitement around the return of sporting events, too,” adds Gilboy. “All this means that the Euros this year will be more important for retailers than ever before. Over the course of June and early July, retailers will be catering to shoppers who, not only will be thinking about a BBQ for long-awaited reunions, but how they can tie that in to viewing both the European Championships and Wimbledon.”

“Retailers can capitalise on the return of sport this summer by cleverly sign-posting shoppers to products grouped by occasion,” Gilboy continues. “Cross-selling in this way is convenient for the shopper, helping to reduce browsing time, but also savvy for the retailers who stand to increase basket spend through impulse purchasing.”

Matt Smith, Marketing Director for Golden Wonder, comments: “Changes in our daily behaviour over the last few months – and especially how we socialise – have accelerated the shift away from impulse packs with 24% of consumers buying more sharing packs than a year ago as every night has become a ‘Big Night In’. People are desperate to return to ‘normal’ and the Euros may be the first opportunity to ‘have the lads round’ so consumers will want to stock up on their favourite treats.”

£1 PMP Snacks are growing faster than the market (19.9% vs 6.4%) and now account for 39.1% of Snacks (IRI) with family favourites such as Golden Wonder Ringos and Transform-A-Snack performing well in this format.

“In every piece of research we have conducted, taste is always the No1 reason for purchase as consumers recognise savoury snacks are a treat and so, have to be worth the calories,” adds Smith.

This is underlined in pork scratchings where consumers crave the unique taste so much that 1 in 5 people will simply not buy another snack if they are not available (Norstat), making them a ‘must-stock’ item.

Snack sales increase at major sporting events as people gather round to watch. Research shows that 80% of pork snacks are consumed with a drink (Norstat). This has never been more relevant.

“People may not be back watching the Euros in the pub but when looking to create that big match experience, they’ll know that if they get the scratchings in, they can really take that pub taste home,” says Smith. “When it comes to the ultimate pub snack, there is simply no matching a scratching!”

 

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