The Big Night In occasion represents a key opportunity for retailers to maximise sales, with consumers often looking to premiumise their product choices while staying at home.

Due to an increase in Al Fresco entertaining during and post-Covid, and with a third of all drinking occasions including food, the Big Night In occasion provides an opportunity for retailers to encourage repeat business by offering customers the whole package for their evenings at home.

Staying at home increases consumer’s desire to ‘treat themselves’ with their product choices, which was identified as one of the key drivers in Heineken’s The Greenpaper. The driver, ‘We’re Worth It’, focuses on how maximising the premium options in store is critical to both increasing sales and ensuring the category’s success.

As we move throughout the year, there will also be an increase in sporting occasions, which retailers should look to capitalise on, as identified in The Greenpaper.

“With the Olympics commencing in July, many consumers will be watching summer sporting events at home,” says Toby Lancaster, Category and Shopper Marketing Director at Heineken UK. “Retailers should therefore ensure they are stocking shopper favourites, synonymous with sport, such as Heineken, which has recently launched a limited edition range of bottles in honour of being the official partner of the UEFA Euro 2020.”

50.9% of shoppers think it’s worth paying extra when it comes to buying alcoholic drinks to have at home (Kantar).

“With this in mind, retailers should look to implement cross-category merchandising to drive additional sales in-store,” suggests Lancaster. Stocking brands that pair perfectly with food, such as Old Mout and Birra Moretti, can ensure customers spend more as they look to create the full experience at home.”

Another fast-developing trend is No and Low, which has continued to boom in the last year. Driving this has been the shift in drinking habits, particularly amongst Gen Z shoppers, who are increasingly looking for options to moderate in an effort to increase their health and wellbeing practices.

There is also an increased demand from younger customers for more exotic, premium flavours, resulting in many brands experimenting with new and exciting flavour profiles, such as Old Mout Watermelon and & Lime and Strongbow Rose. Stocking new launches that capitalise on these trends are key to driving younger customers into store.

Jessica Markowski, Convenience Sales Director at Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, comments: “The Big Night In soared in popularity during the pandemic, and, even as the On Trade begins to re-open, we expect to see a lasting shift in consumers socialising at home. During the summer months, we expect these moments to include spontaneous garden gatherings and small scale, socially distanced nights in with friends.”

BBG foresees the Big Night In will remain popular as we emerge from lockdown, and that many consumers will continue to shop for these occasions at convenience stores. The pandemic saw consumers shopping more locally – last year, 25% of Brits shopped more at their nearest local store, helping impulse to gain +1.7ppt volume share of beer across the total market (Nielsen).

By capitalising on ongoing changes to consumer behaviour and delivering on consumer needs, such as catering for Big Night In shops, retailers have the opportunity to consolidate the increased footfall seen in 2020 and expand their customer base this year.

Beer is a Big Night In staple, so there is a huge opportunity for retailers to drive sales through the category. Stores should prepare now, ensuring they have a range of beers catering to every drinking preference.

“For retailers to compete with the On Trade, they must inspire consumers to choose a Big Night In,” says Markowski. “Getting shoppers excited about the occasion, and suggesting food choices that complement popular premium drinks is a great way to do so. The smooth taste of Budweiser pairs perfectly with a selection of crisps and dips; perfect for a summer Big Night In. Similarly, beer is a classic BBQ staple, so there is a huge opportunity for retailers to drive sales through the category as part of a Big Night In in the garden. By merchandising beer and BBQ foods together as part of a Big Night In display, retailers can encourage increased basket spend.”

The summer of sport presents another great opportunity for retailers to compete with the On Trade, by inspiring customers to stock up for a small viewing party at home. Consumption of beer rockets during TV sports compared to the average at home occasion (Kantar), with the 2018 World Cup driving a 31 million pint increase in sales of beer. Sponsorship brands are pivotal for driving sales around sporting events, with 55% of shoppers more likely to opt for official sponsor brands over their usual beer choices.

Premiumisation is one way consumers are elevating the Big Night In from other at-home occasions, helping the moment to remain popular even as the On Trade reopens. Two thirds of shoppers claimed to be treating themselves at-home during the initial lockdown in 2020, indulging in better quality drinks to upgrade moments at-home (Kantar).

BBG has seen its premium beers such as Budweiser and Stella Artois deliver consistently strong value sales in the grocery channel. Last year, Stella Artois sold 527m pints in the UK Off-Trade and remained the UK’s number one alcohol brand (Nielsen). Budweiser grew 29.8% in volume ahead of the total beer category (Nielsen).

“As the number one and two most valuable beer brands in the Off-Trade, Stella Artois and Budweiser are must-stock premium options that are well suited to help retailers make the most of the Big Night In opportunity,” adds Markowski.

Stocking the right range of beer is essential to make the most of the sales opportunity a summer Big Night In presents. 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). Corona is not only a strong performer but also a summer staple, maintaining its position as the most valuable World Beer brand over summer 2020, with sales growing at nearly double the rate of the total grocery market (Nielsen).

Sponsorship brands are a great addition to Big Night In displays in store – particularly during this summer of sport. These lines are often boosted with POS support from brands which helps drive visibility in store. For example, Bud Light recently launched Boxheads, ‘beer you can drink, box you can wear’, where consumers can wear the faces of Jordan Pickford, Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker. These new Bud Light Boxheads not only stand out on shelf, but also feature a scan to win mechanic, giving shoppers the chance to instantly win prizes including LG 4K TVs, free beer, official merchandise and more.

“With a summer of low-key socialising and spontaneous gatherings ahead, we expect to see a growing trend towards light, ready to drink options, such as seltzers,” Markowski continues.

Seltzers have a proven track record of sales growth during the summer months. In 2020, we saw a total of £5.8m in sales for seltzers, with a 36% uplift in July and August, underlining their appeal in warmer weather (Nielsen). Newly 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. The range of seltzers will help 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 should also look to make the most of the summer sales opportunity by embracing alfresco entertaining moments such as BBQs, merchandising seltzers alongside popular BBQ items to help create an inspirational Big Night In display and boost in-store spend,” suggests Markowski.

Tom Smith, Marketing Director – Europe, at Accolade Wines, comments: “The Big Night In has understandably become the norm during the last few months and we’re likely to see this behaviour continue in the months ahead. Here at Accolade Wines, we are looking to continue to leverage strength in in-home occasions, whilst looking for ways to adapt to new socially distant outdoor occasions.”

There has been growth in the £7+ bottles and with wine on tap options. This shows the importance of offering trade-up wines in store, linked to the trend for treating, and demand for portion control products, with consumers deciding to drink one glass of wine with an evening meal. Mud House has seen growth in convenience in the past year by offering shoppers an accessible trade up to £8+ wine.

“We expect to see the No/Low alcohol category entering the second stage of evolution in 2021 with new entrants offering innovative products and flavours, replacing some of the originally listed lines,” says Smith. “Offering an alternative option where full strength wine or alcohol is not always a choice, opportunities to target new consumers will continue to increase.”

Last year saw a rise in low-key home occasions (Nielsen), serving as an opportunity for consumers to switch from soft drinks and opt for alternative low and no options. In 2019, Accolade launched Hardy’s 0.0% Chardonnay, which has resonated with those looking for a no alcohol wine option.

2020 saw a boom in the trend for Seltzers, offering a lighter alternative to traditional drinks such as beer or wine. Blurring alcohol categories are becoming more popular and hard seltzers will likely witness the highest growth rate within the UK’s ready-to-drink category over the next five years.

Sustainability is a key focus for Accolade, and this year the company announced that its core branded portfolio – including Hardys, Mud House, Jam Shed, Banrock Station, Echo Falls and Kumala – has been certified carbon neutral, with the aim to complete 100% portfolio neutrality by the end of 2020.

Nick Williamson, Marketing Director at Campari Group UK, comments: “Despite pubs and bars reopening, we still expect to see some consumers looking for ways to separate their evenings and weekends at-home. The Big Night In is a great chance for consumers to premiumise their at-home experiences to differentiate from other nights of the week.”

One way consumers can do this is to elevate their drinks, such as trying new cocktails and spritz serves. These light and refreshing cocktails lend themselves perfectly to al fresco dining occasions enjoyed at-home in the garden, with a third of consumers already now opting for sparkling cocktails with their meals (CGA). This presents a great opportunity for retailers to tap into the cocktail category, which can be achieved through engaging displays and inspiring spritz bundles in store.

In 2020 there was a 35% YoY increase in consumers enjoying cocktails at-home, and 83% of UK consumers plan to continue to make cocktails at-home once we come out of lockdown. This surge in demand for at-home cocktail-making is a driving desire for cocktails like the Aperol Spritz, which is a great example of a spritz serve that is light, refreshing and easy to make – making it the perfect beverage for any Big Night In. As the best-selling branded cocktail in the UK and the best-selling branded cocktail in the world (CGA), the Aperol Spritz saw a +79% in value growth last year (Nielsen).

“A combination of Aperol, Prosecco and a dash of soda water, this simple serve is full of potential for bundles and cross-merchandising in-store – by merchandising the three core ingredients together, retailers can encourage shoppers to create the iconic spritz at home,” says Williamson. “They can also look to display the serve alongside simple aperitivo foods, such as olives, to make a great snack pairing for Big Nights In with an Italian flair. This in-store bundling will also encourage shoppers to purchase more items whilst simplifying the buying journey.”

Tapping into the popularity of refreshing serves in a new and exciting way is the Campari Gin & Tonic. A delightful reimagining of a quintessentially British classic G&T, this serve brings an air of Milanese style to any Big Night In. Shoppers are becoming more adventurous with their drink choices; we saw spikes in cocktail searches last year as 39% looked to try different alcoholic drinks (Kantar).

“The Campari Gin & Tonic is a great example of how a new addition to a classic drink can create a delicious cocktail – making Campari a must-stock for retailers seeking to drive basket spend,” suggests Williamson. “Retailers should look to merchandise simple cocktail bundles in-store, such as grouping Campari with traditional gin and tonic staples, to encourage shoppers to try something new.”

Retailers looking to tap into the Big Night In occasion during summer should look no further than Jamaica Rum. The rum category saw strong performance last year recording +11.5% growth YOY (Nielsen) allowing retailers to capitalise on the growing category. Wray & Nephew, named as a top 10 must-stock brand for the convenience channel, is characterised by citrus, pear, and pineapple notes, making it a fantastic addition to any summer Big Night In occasion due to its light and refreshing flavours.

There are plenty of ways to enjoy Wray & Nephew due to its versatility. The Wray Rum Punch is a great serve that retailers can encourage shoppers to make at-home. 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. This will help encourage shoppers to pick up all they need for that perfect summer cocktail to accompany their Big Night In.

“For those consumers looking for an even more straightforward serve, Wray & Nephew is the ideal companion to ginger beer or Ting – with a fresh wedge of lime for a refreshing taste of summer,” adds Williamson. “Retailers should consider showcasing Wray & Nephew as a must-have spirit by amplifying its iconic and brightly coloured branding on shelf displays.”

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.”

One of the biggest trends we are seeing is consumers buying for the last-minute ‘meal tonight’ occasion. This presents a huge opportunity, as 44% of shoppers plan to purchase from the beers, wines and spirits category as part of their store visit (Diageo).

Alongside this, data suggests that, as well as beers, wines and spirits, 39% of the last minute ‘meal for tonight’ shoppers buy crisps, snacks and confectionery during their visit in-store (Diageo).

To fully cater to this trend, it is worth considering food and drinks pairings which will support retailers in providing customers with the ingredients to create the perfect night in. Furthermore, premium drinks are in growth, up 27.4% in value vs YA in the Off-Trade as consumers look to create quality experiences at home (Nielsen).

“With this in mind, retailers should stock super-premium and premium spirits, such as Tanqueray London Dry Gin and Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla, alongside high-quality crisps and snacks as another way to drive sales whilst allowing for a more premium choice,” suggests Dawson. “Retailers, in turn, can then cross-merchandise these products in-store to drive bigger basket spend.”

Diageo also recommends responding to the increasing demand for cocktails which is playing an increasingly large part in the ‘big night in’ occasion. When it comes to popular spirits which form the base of cocktails, gin in particular, is driving the biggest growth in spirits with variants making up 45.8% of total value share MAT (Nielsen). “With no signs of slowing down, retailers would benefit from maintaining a good range of gin to help drive sales,” adds Dawson.

Gordon’s SKUs in particular currently occupy the top eight spots in the impulse channel (Nielsen).

“We also know that the RTD category has allowed retailers to tap into customers’ preference towards high-quality and convenient drinks and this is likely to continue throughout 2021,” continues Dawson.

“Therefore, we recommend stocking a good range of RTDs to tap into the convenience trend. Ensuring your range of RTDs is kept chilled, ready for immediate consumption as well as utilising eye level placements in the chiller next to fruit ciders, will also increase the visibility of these products.”

The RTD category can unlock further opportunities to drive sales beyond the convenience trend. Recent data has demonstrated that 35% of total premix growth comes from multipacks (Nielsen). Customers have been visiting stores 22% less often than usual, but basket size has increased by 45% – to £23 from £16 per trip (Kantar). Therefore, maintaining a range of RTD multipacks can encourage customers to increase basket spend in-store.

Amy Burgess, Senior Trade Communications Manager at Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), comments: “Big nights in represent a huge opportunity for independent retailers this summer. Friends and families will be looking forward to socialising together at home, whether that’s for an evening meal or drinks in the garden.”

Soft drinks – and sparkling drinks in particular – help to bring summer meetups like these to life and colas, flavoured carbonates, and mixers all have an important part to play. In particular, soft drinks from leading, trusted brands represent guaranteed quality at time when many consumers remain focussed on affordable treats.

Coca-Cola continues to drive growth in grocery and convenience, led by Coca-Coca zero sugar (Nielsen), Fanta remains the number one flavoured carbonates brand in GB and Schweppes is the fastest growing major mixer brand in GB (Nielsen).

“We expect high demand for larger packs to remain through the summer as people enjoy more nights in with friends and family,” says Burgess. “Coca-Cola multipacks offer volume and value for anyone looking to stock up for an evening together and sales are up 25.8% (Nielsen) in independent and symbol stores. For retailers, it’s important to strike the right balance between on-the-go and at-home formats, keeping space for both.”

As social mixing rules are relaxed, people will be looking for ways to make their big night in feel special with mixed drinks, cocktails and non-alcoholic mocktails.

“Retailers should stock up on a range of mixers to tap into this growing opportunity,” suggests Burgess.

Schweppes is worth more than £124m in retail and has increased in value by almost a third over the last year (Nielsen), with a portfolio including Schweppes Classic Tonic, Schweppes Slimline Tonic and Schweppes Lemonade.

Adult soft drinks like Appletiser can also offer a sophisticated non-alcoholic option to enjoy while others may be drinking beer, wine and cocktails. It’s made with pure fruit juice and contains no added sugar, so Appletiser is particularly appealing to health-conscious consumers. Appletiser is versatile and can be enjoyed on its own, as a base for mocktails or as an accompaniment to a variety of spirits.

In the wake of the pandemic, health is now an even bigger motivator for consumers to improve their diet (IGD). To ensure that there’s choice for those looking for a healthier option to enjoy during a big night in, CCEP’s light colas range includes Diet Coke, worth more than £500million in retail, and Coca-Cola zero sugar, worth more than £300million and in 12.8% growth (Nielsen).

CCEP also continues to offer more choice for those looking to experiment with new flavours through its Light Cola flavours portfolio, which includes Coca-Cola zero sugar Cherry and Coca-Cola zero sugar Vanilla. Last year the range was expanded further with the launch of Diet Coke Sublime Lime, which combines the much-loved taste of Diet Coke with a refreshing citrus twist.

Meanwhile, CCEP’s zero sugar flavoured carbonates are also worth more than £100million (Nielsen), highlighting the popularity of brands like Fanta Zero, including Fanta Zero Raspberry, which launched in 2020. Ben Parker, GB Commercial Director, At Home at Britvic, comments: “Cola is the number one segment within the soft drinks category, with flavoured cola growing ahead of other segments, up +6.5% versus last year (Nielsen). Sugar free choices are of particular importance in cola segment, having grown +15.2% in the last two years (Nielsen).”

Pepsi MAX is adding Lime to its flavour portfolio this summer, aiming to help retailers continue to capitalise on the growing popularity of flavoured cola. Pepsi MAX Lime will allow retailers to offer their shoppers even more choice this summer and beyond, especially given that lime was voted the number one flavour for refreshment in consumer taste tests.

Pepsi MAX Lime is initially available as a Tesco Group exclusive – which includes Londis, One Stop, Premier, Budgens, Tesco and Booker Wholesale – before rolling out further late August. To help retailers cater to a variety of consumer needs, the new flavour will roll out in 2L and 1.25L bottles, as well as in 8 and 24 x multipack cans.

“The pandemic has accelerated health trends, with the value of low-calorie drinks up +7.7% in total soft drinks,” adds Parker. “Sugar is a key consideration of shoppers, with 50% of the population actively reducing their sugar intake, and sugar free being the number one attribute that prompts a healthier soft drink purchase. It is clearly vital to cater to those looking for low and no sugar alternatives of the core range, with products such as Tango Sugar Free (including new Tango Sugar Free Dark Berry), Pepsi MAX (including new Pepsi MAX Lime) and 7UP Free.”

Tango, one of the fastest growing brands within the fruit carbonates segment (Nielsen), has introduced Dark Berry to its popular sugar free range. The addition of Tango Dark Berry brings a mouth-watering taste of sweet, tangy raspberries and rich blackberries ensuring shoppers don’t have to compromise on taste when choosing a healthier option. Sugar free choices are of particular importance in the fruit carbonates segment, having grown +18% in the last two years (Nielsen). The move follows the successful relaunch of the Tango range in 2019, which is now worth £15.4m RSV (Nielsen), and bought by 2.5m shoppers (Kantar).

Guy Harvey, Impulse Category Management Controller at PepsiCo, comments: “With shoppers from the same household spending more time together than ever before, customers are keen to unwind of an evening and escape. Crisps and snacks are therefore playing an important role in their cupboards, making an evening in front of the TV that little bit more special. With Walkers’ purpose being to put a smile on people’s faces, this role is more important than ever.”

The Big Night In can take many forms, from premium indulgence to fun, family time.

“It’s therefore important that retailers cater to this broad demand, stocking across our range of crisps and snacks,” adds Harvey. “By stocking brands that shoppers know and love, stores are able to bring familiarity and fun to people’s evenings, as anxiety and uncertainty are set to continue for a little while longer.”

Attitudes to shopping locally and spending more time at home are changing as a result of the pandemic. With a route out of restrictions now available, consumers will be increasingly keen to share snacking occasions with friends and family.

“We expect that big nights in will continue to play an important role in shoppers’ lives, with new occasions available to consumers as the year progresses,” says Harvey. “People have valued the added time spent with their close friends and family and they won’t want to lose this sense of closeness as restrictions are easing.”

As a result of the pandemic, consumers have had to celebrate big birthdays, engagements, would-be-weddings and other large occasions at home.

“It remains uncertain when shoppers may be able to spend these celebrations at the local pub or other hospitality venues, so it is more important than ever that retailers can offer products that cater to these occasions,” suggests Harvey. “Multipacks have emerged as a key format, with at-home celebrations spiking desire for shared snacking options. People are wanting snacks that help them share the celebrations with loved ones, and they are expecting their local retailers to stock products that previously would have been purchased as part of a larger grocery shop. As shoppers look to avoid large numbers of people, consumers will continue to seek out both local and larger retailers to cater for special events.”

PepsiCo is introducing new RRP price-marked packs across a number of its multipack and sharing bag lines, helping retailers offering everyday value. For the first time, two multipack products will include a RRP price-marked flash; Walkers Classic Variety and Quavers Cheese 6-packs.

New larger Doritos and Walkers Sensations sharing bags will also launch with an RRP of £2, with pack size having increased in size by 20g. The £2 RRP PMPs will be available across 3 products; Doritos Chilli Heatwave, Tangy Cheese and Walkers Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli, offering better value than the existing 65g bags.

In 2020, 65% of shopping trips to convenience stores consisted of take-home products, but 88% of sharing purchases occurred outside of the impulse channel.

Matt Collins, Trading Director at KP Snacks, comments: “Together Time is the largest category opportunity due to the size of the sharing occasion. The Sharing segment is strong and growing. Worth over £1.3bn, the largest within CSN, it is currently experiencing growth of +8.8%. KP Snacks have a range of products that covers all of consumers’ Together Time needs and offer something for everyone.”

As restrictions lift and family and friends get together, there is an increased desire to make at-home occasions feel more special, and snacks are an affordable in-home treat. 51% of CSN eaters see them as a good low-cost way to boost their mood and celebrate small achievements (Mintel).

Taste is a critical element of Together Time, with 51% of shoppers saying flavour is the No.1 purchase driver when buying crisps or snacks (Mintel). 91% say spending time family time together is very important (HIM), and a great way to do that can be with a film or Netflix box set at home. 48% of consumers eat crisps, snacks and nuts when watching a film at home and 48% say snacks are a must have for an evening in with family (Mintel). Stocking family snacking favourites will help capitalise on sharing segment growth.

Susan Nash, Trade Communications Manager at Mondelez International, comments: “With consumers continuing to spend more nights in at home, shoppers are looking for the perfect treats to share with others in their households. In particular, consumers are looking for products from trusted brands, such as Cadbury and Maynards Bassetts, which deliver on both quality and taste, in a range of formats. At Mondelez we offer a wide portfolio to tap into the big night in occasion, with a large range of exciting products across chocolate, biscuits and sugar confectionery.”

Evening snacking is worth over £6.5BN (Kantar) and is growing. Chocolate is still the number one choice for those settling down for a night in with friends and loved ones, followed by sugar confectionery, biscuits and crisps. There are plenty of opportunities for cross-category selling to create a premium night in offer with chocolate at the centre. What’s more, 52% (Kantar) of all confectionery occasions take place with other people present, so having a range of sharing formats is key to maximising the opportunity.

Sugar confectionery is another important part of a big night in and offers the perfect treat to share with family. Maynards Bassetts is the second biggest branded sugar confectionery player in the UK (Nielsen), making Mondelez a leading contributor to this £1.2BN (Nielsen) market. It’s important that grocers offer a range of sharing bags, alongside the latest innovations, to help meet the needs of shoppers and drive sales from their range. Chocolate sharing formats, like bags and tablets, are an important part of a grocer’s range. In fact, bags are the fastest growing standard chocolate segment (Nielsen). Mondelez’ popular sharing bags are growing by 4%, driven by Cadbury and premium brand Green & Black’s (Nielsen).

The richest, creamiest bar Cadbury has ever made, Cadbury Darkmilk was the biggest confectionery launch of 2019 (Nielsen), with a repeat purchase rate of 27.5%. To further build on this strong start, Cadbury introduced two new products designed to help support the core range and help the brand innovate into new occasions. This included Cadbury Darkmilk Giant Buttons. The combination of Cadbury Darkmilk in a proven format loved by consumers offers an ideal product for sharing with loved ones, perfect for the ‘Big Night In’ occasion. Secondly, Cadbury Darkmilk with Crunchy Cocoa Pieces combines rich and creamy Cadbury Darkmilk with crunchy cocoa nibs for added texture and an intense cocoa hit.

Kat Jones, Marketing Manager, Ice Cream at General Mills, comments: “In 2020, the ice cream category accelerated with an exceptional 21.1% growth, seeing a sales increase of +£278M. With 20% of ice cream occasions driven by refreshment, we anticipate a strong uplift in impulse purchase of ice cream for out of home consumption.”

As a brand, Häagen-Dazs is currently worth £98m with significant growth of +19% (Nielsen); which has accelerated in the latest 12 weeks where the brand is outpacing the total category (growing +28% vs. category +26%). Since COVID-19, the brand has acquired 750,000 new buyers with a total 19.7% household penetration (Nielsen). This success is attributable to a strong brand positioning as a result of activation pivots last year, as well as the performance of take-home pints as consumers sought indulgence and comfort.

At a total category level, luxury pints and chocolate handheld variants have been the biggest contributors growing £94m and £53m (Nielsen) respectively, with indulgent flavours, a space that Haagen-Dazs is famed for, like salted caramel, cookie, chocolate, and dessert flavours performing exceptionally well.

“Wellness has really expanded and evolved over recent years – we’ve seen a more holistic shift to ‘better for you’ which can take many forms, starting with a demand for clean ingredients,” adds Jones. “At Häagen-Dazs, we pride ourselves on exactly this, clean ingredients and straightforward indulgence. Our core range answers the mindful indulgence trend with high quality, premium ingredients (fresh real cream and no artificial colours, flavours, palm oil or emulsifiers), so shoppers look to us as a trusted treat.”

A second major concern is around sugar. More than one third of category users have reduced their ice cream consumption in the last year due to sugar concerns. Yet, out of those concerned, 50% of shoppers agree that having greater control over portion size is a good alternative to abstaining (Food Village). Häagen-Dazs offers differing portion sizes, from tubs to mini cups, supporting consumer choice and allowing them to control their level of indulgence.

The lower calorie range, Gelato, is ideal for shoppers looking for a lighter option, containing only 150 calories per mini cup 95ml portion, 30% less sugar and 50% less fat than regular ice cream.

Towards the end of last year, wellness took a back seat with the Low-Calorie segment falling significantly behind the total Ice Cream category in total market, +3.4% vs. YA (Nielsen).

A new within ice cream is ‘snackification’; suppliers are taking alternative routes and expanding into new formats across the category. This has taken the form of cookie dough bites, mochi and ice cream sandwiches amongst others, where ice cream is being introduced into compatible snacking formats, leading to a more versatile overall snack.

Dan Chesbrough, Business Unit Controller, Grocery at FrieslandCampina, comments: “The Flavoured Milk Category is currently worth over £382million, and within this, Yazoo, the number one traditional flavoured milk brand, remains a popular choice within soft drinks. People spent more time at home last year than ever before, we expect this to carry over heavily into 2021, pandemic or not, so consumers will be looking for brands that deliver as well at home as they do out of home. Household names have an opportunity here to maximise their reputations and see growth.”

Yazoo is best served chilled but has the added benefit of being ambient. With a shelf life of up to nine months, it is an ideal addition to a store cupboard or pantry, ready to be transferred to the fridge as and when consumers desire.

Yazoo’s one litre formats have been permanently available in its best-selling core flavours: Chocolate, Strawberry and Banana. It is a welcome addition to a big night in and tastes great straight from the fridge poured into a glass at home (the brand’s one litre milk drinks are currently growing at 17% compared to the market at 6%).

People are also more likely to indulge less as the occasion becomes more regular than ever before so ingredients like vitamins and calcium, which Yazoo has, allow consumers to choose goodness and taste when selecting drinks to take home, instead of sacrificing one.

 

 

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