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Events like a coronation are always a chance for independent retailers to focus on high-quality British products and cash in on increased interest in local fare. As Laura Roberts, owner of Laura’s Larder, put it, “It’s a historic event, a one-off, and such a thing presents a unique opportunity.”
Simon Warren, owner of The East Street Deli, agreed, “We’re treating the King’s coronation as an opportunity for us at The East Street Deli, as a way of joining in with our customers to celebrate a national event.”
The ‘Buy British’ opportunity
Indeed, customers will be looking to celebrate British produce over the bank holiday weekend and beyond, as according to Mintel, just under half (45%) of consumers say the coronation of King Charles III makes them feel more patriotic or proud to be British.
Simon is going all the way over at The East Street Deli, as he told Speciality Food, “We will quite literally be putting out the bunting and dressing the windows to make sure we’re fully in the coronation mood. We’re lucky that many of our fellow independent stores along East Street in Wimborne will be taking part and so hopefully we’ll be a real-life ‘Coronation Street’!
“We are having some coronation biscuits made by a local artisan supplier and will be increasing our range of British cheeses for the week.”
Indeed, appetite for limited edition coronation food peaks among the young as a third (34%) of 16-34-year-olds say they are likely to buy treats such as Union Jack cakes and specially packaged food or drink, compared to only 14% of over-55s, according to Mintel.
“However, it’s not the best time to buy experimental or quirky stock and – please don’t shoot me down for a lack of patriotism – I for one do not want to be left with Union Jack branded items come the middle of May”, Laura warned.
“Therefore, we’re pushing the items we sell which fit the bill: British wine, Alsop and Walker’s Lord London cheese, afternoon teas, celebration pork pies, and freshly made quiches – yes, that quiche. Coronation chicken sandwiches will be on the menu; we do like to add Nudie Snacks Katsu Cauliflower Crisps to ours though!”
“We have purchased a few extra items such as tea and biscuits, however, I don’t think it will be as big as the Jubilee weekend, people are now in a different place. I do hope we get an uplift in sales – a ray of sunshine through the wet and dreary start to 2023. Scheduling and deciding all the opening hours for the bank holidays has been an interesting task though…” she added.
Kicking off the summer
With warmer weather on the way as Britain embraces spring, there are plenty of opportunities to use the coronation to launch into picnic season.
As Simon explained, “We see it as a great chance to kick off the summer season and we will be offering a decent range of picnic foods.
“I’m predicting it’ll be a weekend of family gatherings which is normally a great boost to sales. This is mainly from increased sales through our cheese counter and confectionery lines.”
This is something that Mark Kacary, managing director of The Norfolk Deli, is also preparing for. “We are promoting a special coronation picnic for which we have already received an email from somebody who ordered one for this last weekend that it was the best picnic they’ve ever had.
“Beyond that, we will don our party hats, smile and hope that it’s a busy day”, he told Speciality Food.
As the patriotic event rolls around, make sure to engage with your local community and really celebrate the much-needed boost it might give to independent retail.