The length and quality of the British summer plays an important role in the barbecue market.The latest, though not the wettest or shortest in recent memory, offered only enough opportunity for the market to remain largely flat when compared with the same period in 2004.
National events as well as weather play an important role in motivating consumers to barbecue. 2005, a year without a major football tournament, suffered an initial disadvantage that was alleviated in part by a busy summer in other sports.
Alcohol is often associated with the barbecue and remains the largest of the sectors. However, even the willingness of the British consumer to indulge in a summer drink did not stop this crucial sector from only performing at much the same rate as it had the previous summer. Alcohol makes up more than half of the market and its performance is crucial to the general health of the market.
Even more crucial to the British barbecue is meat (or alternatives) placed on the barbecue. White meat is becoming more important, reaching a share of 8.5% of the market in peak season, slightly lower than red meat chops and steaks, which are also in growth as consumers opt for fresh meats over the summer period.
Fresh flavoured meats, which is the most dynamic sector with the greatest level of added value products, is showing the most rapid growth. Up 16%, these products are gaining an increasing foothold on the British barbecue menu. Although this sector remains small, the size of the other sectors could mask that these products are now worth a sizeable £42m. Along the same lines, marinades are performing well, possibly anticipating the much-heralded greater sophistication of the barbecue season.
For non-carnivores, there are vegetarian options, with vegetable sausages and grills in growth, but they are still very much the smallest sectors of this market.
Jo Cowell, account manager, TNS Worldpanel