The week's new roadshow will hit 12 county shows and give barbecue products some sizzling exposure Sales of barbecue products will get another boost this summer when National BBQ Week takes place from May 27 to June 4. Now in its sixth year, National BBQ Week has become the key promotional event of the barbecue season which begins immediately after Easter and runs through to the end of September. In the past few years the event has been instrumental in growing the barbecue market by focusing on cooking tips, recipes and consumer education. Brian George, md of BMI Brand Marketing Group, the event's creator and leading sponsor, says the timing of the promotional week around the end of May Bank Holiday has been crucial to its success. "This is the real start of the barbecue season. The weather is warming up and with the long weekend people are in a holiday mood and want to barbecue. Two thirds of UK households now own some form of barbecue grill" George says. This year's event will have a longer than usual run of nine days to include the extra Bank Holiday for the Queen's Golden Jubilee. "With the celebratory parties this will entail, plus The World Cup, we expect to see a huge demand for barbecuing," George adds. Since George launched National BBQ Week in 1997, it has grown from a promotional event, purely for his Bar-B-Bar sauce and marinade brand, to a national campaign with seven main sponsors this year. British Meat, Sainsbury, Wall's, Dalepak and Garnet Point ­ all previous sponsors ­ are supporting it again, while Fosters Lager has signed up for the first time. Collectively the sponsors are putting £500,000 behind the campaign, which BMI is organising. "A big feature will be a large definitive consumer guide to summer barbecuing with a national newspaper magazine. We did a 12-page supplement with the Express magazine last year and it was a big success in raising awareness," says George. "We will also run major competitions with the national press and Garnet Point and ourselves will provide US and Australian holidays as prizes. "We will also be demonstrating grill-ins at a number of multiples, including Sainsbury. And we will be doing roadshows at 12 county shows throughout the summer, featuring cooking demos and sampling. At these events we'll be offering Bumper BBQ Bonanza Boxes containing all our sponsors' products at a reduced price. Plus we will have a web site campaign, with barbecue chatrooms, and a helpline with a party pack for Golden Jubilee street parties," says George. Other activities will include establishing a national barbecue award later this year, and National BBQ Week's sponsorship of the public relations campaign category of The Grocer's Gramia awards. The sponsors will also step up their own promotions during National BBQ Week. Wall's is spending £400,000 on its sausages, which includes participation in the promotional week, plus a press and radio advertising campaign during the season. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}