As with many sporting occasions that have been pushed back to 2021, following the events of last year, there is real excitement for the upcoming summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Showcasing the world’s greatest athletes from a variety of sporting disciplines, it promises to be a huge spectacle – must-watch TV.
Fans watching from home, particularly those hosting friends and family, are likely to want to create an atmosphere for the occasion, with a selection of snacks, drinks and decoration too.
“Whether planned or unplanned, barbecues are always a great option as they lend themselves to viewing events like the Olympics,” says Caroline Morris, head of sales at Bar-Be-Quick, the original instant BBQ brand. “Easy to set up, they are perfect for pick-up and go food – burger in one hand and a TV remote in the other. For us, it will always be the Instant Barbecue that is the real winner for events like these. Quick and convenient to use, it appeals to those who want a fuss-free barbecue with family and friends.”
Alongside its original Instant Barbecue, Bar-Be-Quick also offers a larger Party Barbecue, which has an extra-large grill area to cater for up to 10 people – perfect for entertaining guests.
“In the spirit of making the summer Olympics viewing an at-home occasion, we would also recommend wholesalers stock up on Instant Barbecues, which offer their customers a convenient solution, and invest in a range of charcoal and barbecue accessories, e.g. firelighters, skewers etc, as these products will appeal to consumers that already own a barbecue and are simply looking for products that will complement their current at-home set-up,” adds Morris.
Bar-Be-Quick has a targeted PR campaign in place, which will be running throughout the summer months, and the brand’s press office team will be targeting national, consumer and regional titles to make sure the barbecue range gets exposure across the country.
“The key to maximising sales is offering a range of products that appeal to retailers and reflect the needs of their customer,” says Morris. “In terms of independent and convenience stores, the focus will always be on products that are easy to display and merchandise and offer a quick and convenient solution for their customers – our Instant Barbecues being a perfect example. However, as current consumer trends show, there is a real appetite for products that offer greater versatility. In the barbecue space, this means barbecues that offer multiple cooking functions, from smokers to grills as well as pizza and tandoori ovens – at least in our case.”
Jeremy Gilboy, founder of St Pierre Groupe comments on behalf of Baker Street: “Summer sporting occasions have always been a key sales opportunity for bakery and now, against a backdrop of COVID-19 restrictions, the importance of them in driving ‘at home’ dining occasions has grown exponentially. The retail potential offered by the Olympics this year is a promising way to drive 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, wholesalers should stock up on versatile bakery items that will encourage customers to buy for multiple meal occasions,” adds Gilboy. “Shoppers are increasingly looking for variety to compensate for having to eat at home every day so wholesalers that ensure they’re stocking a range of products that offer quick and convenient wins for busy kitchens and smaller retailers will encourage shoppers to stock up ahead of big events.”
Savvy retailers can also group products together for key moments through the season – with themed meal suggestions to support countries in specific events, ceremonies or finals. Great Britain, America, Australia, China – the options for culinary creativity are endless and we know that Brits have become more adventurous in their tastes over lockdown. Research from Hearst reveals that a third of people have cooked a new cuisine during the pandemic. The Olympics provides a key opportunity for retailers to cater to this trend and highlight new meal ideas for a more curious audience.
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. Baker Street’s fresher-for-longer products are performing well (+30 per cent year on year) as consumers seek out bakery products that can be enjoyed at short notice for spontaneous meals. Baker Street’s range of burger buns and hot dog rolls are driving growth for the brand and will particularly appeal to customers looking to replicate ‘fakeaway’ menu items, especially during a sporting summer pegged to be the year of ‘al fresco’.
“Of course, it’s important to note the general excitement around the return of sporting events, too,” suggests Gilboy. “All this means that the Olympics 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 the Olympics, the Euros and Wimbledon.
“Retailers can capitalise on the return of sport this summer by cleverly sign-posting shoppers to products grouped by occasion. 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.”
Jo Harwood, Sales Director at Burton’s Biscuit Company comments: “Sports fans watching at home don’t want to miss any of the action and are looking for food and drink that’s on trend with no preparation time, allowing them to watch every minute of the unfolding sports action on-screen.”
Major sporting events create an opportunity for retailers to boost sales by using snacks as an integral part of a meal deal, particularly around sports that are guaranteed to attract large, in-home TV audiences. Launched to align Fish ‘N’ Chips closely with a busy calendar of sporting events throughout spring and summer, Burton’s Biscuit Co. has given its classic Fish ‘N’ Chips Salt & Vinegar snack a sporty packaging refresh.
The Salt & Vinegar pack has been re-branded ‘Sport & Vinegar’, with limited edition packs available until September.
In addition to the new flavour descriptor, sporty imagery features across all pack formats.
“Fish ‘N’ Chips fans are heavily into sport and we’re confident that limited edition ‘Sport & Vinegar’ will be an absolute winner,” Harwood says.
Amy Burgess, Senior Trade Communications Manager at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP), comments: “This summer represents a huge opportunity for retailers. As restrictions begin to ease, it is likely friends and families will look to create social occasions for events like the Olympics, whether that’s drinks in the garden, BBQs with friends or picnics in the park.
“Soft drinks – and sparkling drinks in particular – help to bring social summer occasions to life. Colas, flavoured carbonates, mixers and energy drinks all have an important part to play – especially those from leading, trusted brands, which represent guaranteed quality at a time when many consumers remain focussed on affordable treats.”
Within grocery and convenience, 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 (Nielsen). Schweppes is the fastest growing major mixer brand (Nielsen) in GB, and Monster Energy is the fastest growing energy brand in GB, worth £341m and adding £74.3m to its retail value over the last year (Nielsen).
“We expect larger packs to remain in high demand this summer as people start to socialise again, and with consumption in and around home likely to continue,” adds Burgess.
Value sales of Coca-Cola multipacks are up 25.8% (Nielsen) in independent and symbol stores thanks to the volume and value they offer, especially for consumers looking to stock up in a single shop.
“However, we expect on-the-go occasions to return as restrictions are eased and the weather improves,” says Burgess. “That’s why it’s important for retailers to find the right balance between on-the-go and at-home formats, keeping space for both.”
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. Although we have a roadmap for this year, these trends could continue as restrictions change and some aspects remain uncertain. What we already know is that sporting events are expected to take place and we can expect people to continue to enjoy from the comfort of their own home.”
Beer is currently ranked the fastest growing category within BWS (Nielsen) in the UK and the ongoing popularity of the liquid makes it a must-stock for wholesalers this summer. Maintaining a range of beer formats during summer sporting occasions is a great way to maximise the profitability the liquid.
The Guinness portfolio offers various formats and pack sizes to allow wholesalers to maximise sales potential of the liquid. Wholesalers and retailers can look to help consumers to recreate the Guinness ‘on tap’ experience from the comfort of their own homes with the Guinness Draught in Can 4pack & 10-pack.
Alongside this, they can explore all that the Guinness portfolio has to offer by stocking Guinness Original single 500ml bottles and 4x440ml cans as well as Foreign Extra Stout in 650ml bottles which allow for easy trial.
“Wholesalers may want to consider which serves are synonymous with summer and how to best to maximise their profitability during key sporting occasions,” adds Dawson. “For example, we know that gin is a key player and is driving the biggest growth in spirits with flavoured variants making up 45.8% of total value share year-on-year and during the warmer parts of the year, people opt for mixed drinks such as G&Ts and Spritz serves. With this in mind, we recommend stocking a range of spirits to help create high-quality moments during key summer sporting occasions.”