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The beloved British picnic is in the spotlight this summer as Covid rules require many consumers to move their gatherings outdoors. Google searches for ‘picnic’ have shot up by 550% year-on-year, and search traffic for ‘picnic snacks’ has risen 500%, according to an analysis by Wren Kitchens.
With this in mind, Speciality Food has looked at the latest picnic-perfect food and drink trends to help fine food retailers get the most out of their offering this season.
Cheeseboards and sharing platters are perfect for summer picnics, so brush up on the latest charcuterie trends and summer cheese pairings. The British charcuterie scene in particular has come into its own over recent years, with more than 300 producers now making Continental-style charcuterie to a high standard.
Beyond the classics, fine food retailers can help consumers branch out from their comfort zones with products that push the boat out on flavour. For instance, with the rising popularity of game, Wild and Game has extended its deli range to include game and red wine salami, juniper-cured wild venison carpaccio, wild boar and pork salami and wild boar pancetta. The vegan charcuterie scene is also not to be sniffed at, with the likes of Scotland-based Sgaia and London’s first vegan butcher, Rudy’s, raising the profile of plant-based meats.
Consider creating a display with other cheeseboard accompaniments to boost sales, such as quality crackers, dips and spreads, plus seasonal fruits and vegetables, providing shoppers a grab and go option.
The ready-to-drink sector has shown explosive growth over recent years, and convenient cocktails are just the thing for picnics this summer. From trendy hard seltzer to classic cans of G&T, brands are beating the perception that ready-made tipples are of a lesser quality by using the finest ingredients available.
Plus, the RTD trend isn’t only for alcoholic beverages – plenty of brands are revamping non-alcoholic drinks as mocktails to appeal to those looking to cut down on their alcohol consumption but still enjoy a sophisticated drink. The coffee scene is also taking advantage of the ready-to-drink format with canned cold brew coffees such as Bottleshot taking off.
For those shoppers who are suspending their travels abroad for yet another summer, consider theming picnic selections around specific travel destinations, such as a Mediterranean offering, featuring your finest Italian olives, fish and cured meats, or a Greek smorgasbord packed with fresh vegetables and Feta. By pairing up these selections ahead of time, retailers can make the customer’s journey that bit easier.
The data shows that a growing number of Brits picked up a snacking habit in lockdown, and with such an exciting array of products on the market, this isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon. However, for today’s health-conscious consumer, it’s important that products cater to more than just great flavours. Focus on products that balance fine ingredients – locally made if possible – and strong health credentials, looking out for key buzzwords such as superfoods, CBD, and immunity, which consumers are increasingly showing an interest in.
Retailers with a food to go offering can make the most of consumers’ desire for convenience. With easing restrictions meaning that more social occasions are possible, and some shoppers beginning to replace some of their home cooked meals with trips out to restaurants or cafés, the pace of life is picking up again for many.
Ready-made quintessential British favourites – pies, Cornish pasties and Scotch eggs, as well as sweet treats such as cakes and flapjacks – are sure to go down well for those grab-and-go picnickers.
With the picnic trend set for another strong year in 2021 (weather permitting), responding to consumers’ needs with a well-stocked selection of picnic-ready treats is sure to impress shoppers and help retailers win repeat business in the months ahead.