Now in its fifth year, our national celebration of the barbecue has won plenty of support National BBQ Week kicks off on May 21 and promises to be bigger than ever in this, its fifth, year. The week long celebrations will be supported by competitions and promotions through radio and press, offering prizes such as gas barbecues and Bar-B-Bar Essential BBQ kits. In addition, a series of London and regional blues, booze and barbecue grill-in family fun days are planned throughout the summer and major supermarkets are planning demonstrations and tastings. BMI Marketing says approximately 54 million barbecues were held in 2000, in spite of poor weather, and the company is convinced this number will increase. National BBQ week is the brainchild of BMI Marketing's md Brian George, who has been the powerhouse behind the event since its inception five years ago. He says: "Last year was the first time we attracted big names. This year we have new names such as Dalepak and Chessington World of Adventures as sponsors." Foot and mouth disease hasn't dampened his enthusiasm. "We have tremendous sympathy for the farmers, but this event won't be affected." What's more, he expects National BBQ Week to increase meat sales and his Bar-B-Bar brand, which encompasses 20 barbecue products, sponsors the overall event. It's the second year that British Meat has been a sponsor and it has developed a number of cuts suitable for summer barbecues which it says will give excellent value for money and perfect cooking on the barbecue. Meat & Livestock Commission retail trade manager Maurice McCartney says: "Consumers are generally becoming more adventurous with their eating habits and the barbecue occasion is no exception. "Like ourselves, most of the major multiples have responded to the demand for innovative beef, lamb and pork products for the barbecue." Sainsbury has stepped up its activity for its second year of sponsorship and will include themed point of sale in store around fresh meat and in some seasonal aisles. New this year will be barbecue grills in car parks in selected stores and tastings in store. Available from the end of April under the Sainsbury label will be an extended range of products featuring flavours from around the world. These will include: citrus tikka kofta kebabs and chicken breasts, Shanghai style ribs, mango chicken kebabs, Moroccan chicken drumsticks, and coco- nut tandoori chicken fillets. All will retail between £2.99 and £3.99. Dalepak's debut coincides with massive investment in new products, new packaging and equipment. A raft of new lines include a light burger which has less than 4% fat, chilli beef burgers with peppers, kidney beans and hot chilli seasoning, and Cumber- land style quarter pounders. All will be available in the multiples from April. Dalepak will be supporting National BBQ Week ­ thought to be Europe's largest barbecue promotion ­ with radio and press ads, direct mail and in-store activity. National BBQ WEEK MAY21-28 Grocery sponsors include: Bar-B-Bar, Bar-Be-Quick Dalepak, Garnet Point Wines, Meat & Livestock Commission, Sainsbury, Autan insect repellant {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}