At this time of year, it feels quite surreal to look at the June/July 2018 weather forecasts for London, predicting outside temperatures holding steady at 21 or 22C. That’s especially true with temperatures now barely above freezing. But in a few months it will be summer and gloriously warm. So this is the perfect moment for multiple grocers to start thinking about barbeques and getting ready for this year’s season.

The UK is consistently named as Europe’s leading BBQ nation, beating Germany into second place every time, according to the organisers of the National BBQ Week campaign. There you go – something we can always be sure of beating the rest of Europe at!

The UK BBQ market continues to grow and is worth over £2 billion in sales, compounded by growing consumer spend on BBQ food and drink. No longer considered to be purely a summer activity, an intrepid 15% of UK BBQ-ers claim to BBQ all year round, with Bonfire Night at the other end of the year from now playing a key part. Crucially, BBQ’ing continues to be a male-dominated activity, with 56% of BBQ cooking carried out by men.

The underlying trend is that in 2018 men are still markedly less likely than women to have overall responsibility for cooking and/or preparing the food in British households. They also cook meals from scratch far less frequently, showing that traditional stereotypes still ring true.

That said, according to Mintel men (31%) are more likely than women (26%) to feel pride from cooking a meal, and also more likely to feel adventurous in doing it. The barbeque is a classic occasion for men to be bold and ‘have a go,’ going on an audacious mission with preparing the meal and cooking to feed their loved ones. The only comparable occasion when the man of the house stirs himself to the same extent over the food is cooking the Christmas dinner.

So make a note in your diary for the UK’s biggest BBQ-focused campaign, the market-leading National BBQ Week, which returns this year for a 22nd time, from 28th May – 3rd June. Described by Mintel as the catalyst for growth in the BBQ market since the 1990s and ‘fundamental in changing consumer attitudes to BBQ,’ National BBQ Week 2018 will once again be looking to encourage even more Grill Thrills and Gastro Grilling, by ensuring that everyone, including friends and families, retailers and entire streets fully embraces BBQ culture and really “goes for the grill.”

Consisting of a high-profile media and social media campaign with supporting mobile apps, promotions and in-store activity, the 22nd National BBQ Week, one of the UK’s leading awareness weeks, will kick-start summer and the prime BBQ season and offers brands a brilliant Barbie opportunity to get involved in what has been the outstanding engine for growth in the BBQ market, having increased the market from 9 million BBQ occasions in 1997 to over 131 million Barbi’s in 2017. Sell them the sizzle – and the sausage!

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