Set your summer sales sizzling

A successful product range for barbecue has never been so diverse. But don’t fret, our experts are on hand to help

Barbecues used to be so straightforward. Heat up a grill, slap on some sausages and burgers, and wait for them to cook before stuffing them in a bun and dousing with sauce.

Although as the nation’s preferences change, so do the products that will bring in the extra cash during the summer season. One of the biggest drivers for new tastes has been consumers’ infatuation with trying something new, especially flavours from around the globe.

“Global foods have made a great impact on the barbecue scene,” explains Karimix Managing Director Monica Chia. “Flavour profiles from worldwide cuisines have become very popular and are translated in barbecue options.

“With obvious influences from the US, UK barbecuers have raised their games. Not only has the range and demand for grill types increased and improved, consumers have become more experimental with how they barbecue, from wood-smoked infusions, to a more diverse choice of food destined for the barbecue.”   One brand that has benefited from the trend is Brindisa Spanish Foods. But it’s not all about fresh foods and Product Trainer James Robinson has noticed a spike in frozen products too.

“Premium frozen products – especially quality, versatile cuts of meat – really appeal to retailers looking to make seasonal changes,” Robinson says, before pointing out Brindisa’s Iberico de bellota pork, carrilleras and solomillo as good alternatives to the norm.

“Condiments are also a key aspect of any good barbecue and the trend is for hotter, more spicy accompaniments, such as the two Bastarda hot sauces Brindisa recently introduced.”

Freezer frenzy

Another supplier that has seen the trend towards frozen food on barbecues is Meadow Vale Foods, with its own market research revealing that more than 73% of people said they’d serve it on their barbecue.   “It’s no surprise,” adds Managing Director Nigel O’Donnell.

“You get the same great taste straight from the freezer and with our speciality products you can add more exciting options to your grill rather than the traditional burgers and hot dogs.”

Meat isn’t the be all and end all, though. Cleaner, healthier eating has been on the rise for several years, while more consumers are turning to meat-free or vegan dishes.

“Wholesalers need to bear this in mindwhen it comes to barbecue displays and sales,” says Brioche Pasquier Foodservice Sales Manager, Jon Turonnet. “Think beyond meat and look to other ways to make the barbecue offering attractive to customers who are looking to cater to consumer demand.”

Turonnet suggests easy updates to ranges could include vegetables, fish and more premium buns and bread when serving a foodservice customer. “There are lots of vegetables that barbecue very well,” Turonnet continues.

“Sweetcorn is an obvious one, but squashes, courgettes and even brassicas can be grilled. Offer ready-prepared barbecue catering packs that contain a mixture of vegetables that outlets might not otherwise have considered for the barbecue.”

As an extension to that, new additions go further than the mainstay of a barbecue plate. Small extras could boost sales, as shoppers look to inject new flavours or freshness into their offering.

“There’s basil, which is the new chia,” Marketing Controller Al Thaker from McCormick Flavour Solutions reveals. “Basil seeds give texture and wholesome goodness to both sweet and savoury foods and drinks. Offer your customers basil seeds, which are perfect for making a delicious and nutritious dip – or salad dressing – to accompany barbecue dishes.

“Also trending large on the flavour forecast are sesame seeds, which are a versatile wonder. Most people are familiar with white sesame seeds, but it’s time to put black sesame on the map too. Toasted together, they add texture, colour and a warm, nutty flavour.”

Up-sell opportunities

Dairy specialist Eurilait has even pushed cheese forward as an alternative to meat, with a range of hot-eating cheeses which are perfect for vegetarians and flexitarians. Other additional up-sell opportunities come in the form of equipment, with disposable barbecues a key area that wholesalers could benefit from according to Bar-Be-Quick Head of Sales, Caroline Morris.

“Easter is when barbecue sales start to pick up and the May bank holidays are when barbecue sales always hit a peak, so stocking up during these times is essential,” Morris mentions.

“Disposable barbecues are a popular option due to the fact they are cheap, quick and extremely easy to use. In addition to this, they’re portable and convenient to use and dispose of wherever you are.”

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