Big Night In is one of British grocery’s most undervalued selling opportunities, and it’s open to every cash and carry and delivered wholesaler. Big Night In isn’t just big – it’s enormous. Take all the times consumers have friends and family round for an evening in, multiply those occasions by the number of products shoppers are likely to buy from independent retailers for such moments, and hey presto, an instant super-category every wholesaler can profit from.

chazYou don’t need to look very far for a ‘Big Night In’ sales opportunity. Between now and November the Rugby World Cup has lovers of the sport and their friends and families scrumming down around their TVs, with time before, during and after each match to get stuck into food and drink for sharing. The Rugby World Cup marks the start of a Big Night In season running from now through Halloween and Bonfire Night and into Christmas.

Halloween and Bonfire Night are an autumn “Double Dazzler” that brightens the dreary dark months for children and parents and party lovers in general. It’s not just kids – everyone can dress up and party on down for Halloween, which takes its name from “All Hallows Eve,” the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day on October 31st.

Like Halloween, Bonfire Night has historical roots, in the 1605 Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament, which are put aside these days in favour of fun with fireworks, bonfires and barbecues.
Halloween (31st October) and Bonfire Night (5th November) land on successive weekends at the start and end of half term, an ideal occasion for retailers to stock up their shelves with exciting seasonal merchandise, and for wholesalers it to them.

Besides food and drink, Big Night In is also about sweet treats. UK annual spending on ‘Evening snacking’ is estimated at £5.2 billion, currently growing 2.8% annually, with chocolate the biggest category by value, followed by biscuits, crisps, and fruit. Chocolate confectionery continues to grow thanks to the winning combination of tempting new products and the rise of the ‘Big Night In’ habit.

Last but not least, Micro snacks come into their own for a Big Night In, says John Armstrong, Marketing Director of Kepak Convenience Foods, manufacturer of Rustlers, the UK’s best-selling micro snack. The days when people opted for a couple of packets of crisps and a few beers during a Big Night In are long gone, says Armstrong. Instead, they want a selection of hot and cold food that can be prepared in next to no time, without interrupting their social fix for more than a moment.

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