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As a staple in every Brit’s diet, barbecue-ready food is always a winner for the summer months. But what are 2023’s consumers looking for to impress friends and family at their BBQs?
Of course, fine food retailers are always in a good position to cater to foodie occasions, and the Great British BBQ is no exception.
According to Craig Roberts, head butcher at Farmer Copleys, “As fine food retailers, we can cater to consumer demand by having both amazing produce and amazing colleagues that can understand what our customers want when the BBQ weather does arrive and plan accordingly.
“Communication with our visitors can help gauge trends and demands for the year. From speaking with them this year, we’ve seen a trend for cooking low and slow which gives our butchers a chance to upsell things like flat briskets or Boston butts and again offer recipes, ideas and upsells to enhance their shopping experience and really show off in front of the grill.”
As a spokesperson from Daylesford tells Speciality Food, “Some of the trends we have picked up on this year so far are low and slow cooking, taking their time to cook meat at a low temperature over a long period of time, while others are embracing plant-based diets, choosing predominantly vegetarian and vegan dishes for their barbecue sessions.”
The sustainability factor
With food inflation at almost 20% in April, consumers are thinking more carefully about where their money is going in 2023.
However, they are choosing to spend on the right thing, and continue to be on a trajectory that values sustainability, and their food choices are no exception. Indeed, when it comes to choosing meat products for the Great British barbecue, their ethical and environmental credentials are extremely important.
As Glen Burrows, founder of The Ethical Butcher, explains, “Recently, consumers are increasingly becoming interested in ethical and sustainable options that prioritise animal welfare and environmental sustainability.
“Retailers should prioritise ethical and sustainable practices in their product selection and sourcing, such as partnering with suppliers that prioritise sustainable and ethical farming practices.”
In fact, The Ethical Butcher uses QR codes to allow customers to see the sustainability journey of the product from farm to fork.
“We buy direct from farmers, visit each farm and make a film about how the animals are raised, what regenerative methods are employed and where they are, we then link this information to the product with a QR code which is included on the thermal print label on each product”, he explains.
This is something that Daylesford Organic also highly prioritises, as a spokesperson tells Speciality Food. “Combining excellent provenance and superlative eating quality, our premium steaks are sourced from the beef herds raised on our organic, regenerative farms in the Cotswolds and Staffordshire.
“We even built our own organic abattoir to ensure the highest welfare and reduction of food miles. All our animals are certified organic by the Soil Association, which carries our rigorous assessments and sets the highest standards of animal welfare in Europe. We choose to rear native breeds that thrive on a grass-fed diet in an organic farming system, roaming our rich pasture in the warmer months and eating silage and forage in the winter.”
When it comes to communicating these credentials to customers, Glen suggests, “Retailers can leverage social media and other marketing channels to promote their ethical and sustainable products and practices and collaborate with like-minded brands and organisations to further promote their values.”
As fine food retailers know, consumers have diverse tastes, so retailers should offer a range of BBQ products that cater to different dietary preferences and flavour profiles. In addition to choosing more sustainably sourced animal products for the grill, consumers are ditching meat altogether in favour of plant-based alternatives.
As Jack Read, sales director at vegan meat producer Future Farm, explains, “With the move toward people looking to live more sustainably, it’s no surprise that plant-based foods will be a big BBQ trend this season.
“A recent survey by Waitrose indicates that 59% of adults in the UK are decreasing their meat consumption, and this inclination is mirrored in BBQs with a Tesco survey further revealing that 35% of individuals aim to prepare vegetarian or vegan meals on their BBQ in 2023.”
But customers will be looking beyond the tired bean burger this summer. They want to indulge in the savoury, juicy taste of a meat burger while enjoying the benefits of a plant-based diet, according to Jack, and Future Farm’s new Future Burger 4.0 is “designed to cater to all cooking preferences, with the ability to emulate rare, medium, and well-done cooking points, making it the perfect choice for grilling on a BBQ.
“This could include plant-based options, a range of different flavours, and unique twists on classic BBQ items. We recently conducted a study which showed 80% of consumers have tried plant-based meats, highlighting the need for independent fine food retailers to stock a variety of meat substitutes to supply the demand”, he adds.
Glen agrees, “Independent fine food retailers can ensure they are catering for the demand this BBQ season by offering a diverse range of high-quality products from regenerative producers which can include both meat and plant-based options, as well as a variety of sides and accompaniments.”