God save the King! Not least for bringing the grocery trade a much-needed shot in the arm this weekend in the form of the coronation, with street parties and other festivities likely to boost sales.
Nielsen IQ (NIQ) data suggests 20% of households intend to buy extra or special groceries and 15% intend to buy memorabilia. And counterintuitvely Mintel research suggests the appetitve for limited edition coronation food peaks among the young (34%), compared with only 14% of over-55s.
Supermarkets and brands have risen to the occasion. M&S has rolled out a Best Ever coronation chicken, coronation chicken crisps and coronation chicken sandwiches, as well as giving Colin the Caterpillar a crown, while there’s an HM-embossed sausage roll and various souvenir biscuits, bubbly, confectionery and teabags.
Thanks to Waitrose, we’ve also learned King Charles prefers Jack Russells to Corgis (or Spaniels) – though the cake in question looks suspiciously like Colin (or Cuthbert), and several other caterpillar cakes for that matter, though Asda offers a bit of novelty with its coronation cake jar, which is a jelly trifle.
Meanwhile, the Co-op and Sainsbury’s have focused more on the British provenance at this most patriotic of occasions. But the vast majority of NPD dresses up old clothes in a new royal livery. Oh to repeat the pizazz of the Ginger & Sparkle crisps released for Harry and Meg’s wedding in 2018. It’s a sign of the times that NPD is quite limited. As is the reliance on limited-edition packaging on the branded NPD side, with Pimms, Cadbury, Lyle’s, Belvoir, Chapel Down, Stokes, Tyrrells, Whitley Neill, Heck all draping the crown or the union flag on their packaging. Still, I did like the punny CiiiR Royale mixer, and the Celebrations chocolate Charles bust, though that was just a PR stunt.
With sandwiches and other teatime treats expected to be in high demand the appropriately named Kingsmill has rather missed a trick, but the coronation will be particularly welcome as our latest Focus On Bread & Baked Goods shows, with wrapped bread volumes overall falling 2.4%, but branded loaves down 17%, haemorrhaging sales to own label.
As a result, having aggressively hiked prices from as low as 95p to £1.40 off the back of soaring costs, Kingsmill has blinked, slicing 7p off the price of a white loaf this month and 5p off wholemeal, research by The Grocer/Assosia shows. And one suspects brands in other categories will be tempted to follow suit, with NIQ grocery sales data for the four weeks to 22 April showing overall volumes down 3.8% for a second month.
It’s bleak out there – with 17.7% of UK households experiencing food insecurity in the latest Food Foundation survey, up from 8.8% a year ago – and means it’s not just milk suppliers who are under pressure from supermarkets to cut prices, despite cost of goods remaining high.