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See how our BBQ differs from years back. Rise of casual BBQs helps drive frozen category

BBQ season is upon us. A true classic on a hot summer day. However, today’s ‘standard’ BBQ looks quite a bit different than a couple years back. Why? Because the single constant in life is that everything is subject to change. Let’s have a look at the latest shifts and trends in the BBQ sector. To start things off, we might have to debunk our first statement a bit. Because weather conditions will always be the main reason to have or not have a barbecue, with wanting to organise a general get-together coming in second. But as we moved to a more hybrid form or working since the pandemic, there’s been a shift in BBQ times and planning.

How about a BBQ tonight?

Did you know that around 30% of all BBQs are now mid-week and tend to be heat of the moment decisions? Meanwhile, pre-planned BBQs are down from 70% in 2005 to fewer than 25% in 2022 in the UK, which is still the leading European nation in BBQ. We forecast these casual BBQ events to keep growing.

Simplified with fewer mains

Not only the timing of BBQ parties has changes, but also what’s on your plate. It has been shown strong inflation has resulted in a reduction of the BBQ complexity, with fewer mains on the grill. Pork and beef consumption have dropped, while burgers saw a whopping 20% decline. As total meat consumption dropped, chicken, fish and lamb held their ground with a 1.5%, 14.9% and 21.7% rise in occasions respectively.

Even though dominant categories as sausages saw a 9% decline in general, inflation and the increased spontaneousness has helped drive the rise of the flexible frozen category, with frozen sausages being up 128%. Which seems logical, as a third of BBQ host are now looking for cheaper alternatives, with a quarter of hosts asking guests to make a contribution.

The extras making the difference

The reduced complexity and, consequently, popularity of frozen foods will be a future driver for BBQ themed sides, such as our wedges, sautéed potatoes or patatas bravas. Consumers are increasingly looking for small, yet impactful touches to elevate their BBQ plate. This in the form of special condiments or premium sides to accompany the reduced number of mains. Great thinking, right? It’s those sides that make it special after all. 😉

Key takeaways

  • People have become more spontaneous in their BBQ get-togethers, leading to a rise in mid-week unplanned BBQs.

  • Being prepared for the unprepared, along with cost of living crisis and BBQs being heavily dependent on the weather, is leading to a surge in frozen products that is expected to continue.

  • Reduced complexity in BBQs has resulted in fewer mains and more distinctive extras, such as condiments and side dishes.

Sources: Lumina Intelligence, 2023 The Grocer, 2023 IGD Retail Analysis National BBQ Week, 2023 Delish, 2023