Convenience Store Focus On: BBQ

28 June 2021

Responses to be attributed to: The UK and Ireland Mushroom Producers

The Story

With so many restrictions in place last spring and summer, one of the few ways Brits could enjoy summer dining was by lighting up the barbie. We’ll look at how trends have changed last year in terms of what consumers decided to BBQ; how they chose to accompany and flavour their dishes; and how frequently they got their grill on. From burgers and sausages to baps and sauces, we’ll explore how BBQ bestsellers performed last year.


1: How did BBQ products perform within convenience in 2020 and how does this compare to the same period the previous year?

Barbeques have boomed during lockdown with more than half of Brits cooking a meal on their grill outside – and a tenth even braving the rain.

Mushrooms are set to be a barbeque staple this year, which can be grilled, skewered or used as a plant-based patty in a burger recipe.

Within the last year, due to the numerous lockdowns and closure of foodservice outlets, cooking and enjoying meals together at home became an important aspect of consumer’s lockdown experiences.

Last summer, there was a significant growth in BBQ’s, with 100 million occasions between April and August, up 44% year-on-year and 18% higher than the heat-wave summer of 2018.

Throughout the summer period, consumer eating habits notably adapted, looking for lighter, healthier and quicker meals to cook for households.

Brands that continue to innovate barbeque products are thriving, helping to avoid “barbecue fatigue” among consumers. There needs to be a greater variety of products available in convenience stores, beyond the usual offering of burgers and sausages, in order to attract more shoppers.

Enriched with vitamin D, the British and Irish Mushroom range includes button, white closed cup, chestnut and portobello, sold in family packs and smaller pack formats for mass and individual cooking.

The range of vitamin D enriched mushrooms are available in a variety of stores nationwide and have ‘Vitamin D’ highlighted labels on packs to ensure you are purchasing vitamin enriched mushrooms.

Hence, mushrooms have become high on shoppers’ lists, packed with essential vitamins and with a wide variety available, the mushroom is the ideal ingredient for consumers to go green this barbeque season.

2: How did plant-based/vegan lines perform during the last BBQ season and which lines proved popular? How was this different to the previous year?

There has been a large increase over the years in vegetarian and vegan BBQ offerings, with over 40% of all BBQ’s now including either a full or partial vegetarian, vegan or plant-based option.

There is a plant-based revolution currently happening in the UK, with demand for premium alternatives to meat soaring. In fact, Waitrose witnessed an 80% increase in demand for vegan barbecue foods in 2020.

Consumers are looking for high-quality meat substitutes that don’t compromise on taste, while also providing a more sustainable solution to mass farming.

More Brits than ever are turning to mushrooms as an affordable and easily accessible barbeque ingredient to meet their nutrient needs.

The UK and Ireland Mushroom Producers has paved the way through innovation by introducing vitamin D enriched mushrooms to the market.

Just eight of these super-charged Vitamin D rich mushrooms provides the average recommended daily allowance.

As an essential vitamin in supporting a normal immune system, vitamin D plays a vital role in keeping our bones healthy, as it works to regulate our intake of calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.

Vitamin D enhanced mushrooms are also heat stable and therefore retain their nutrients even after cooking, which makes mushrooms an essential ingredient to grill on the BBQ this summer.

What’s more, through a unique and natural process, vitamin B12 levels in mushrooms can also be increased to provide the recommended daily intake per 100g serving.

Just four chestnut closed cup vitamin B12 enhanced mushrooms can provide a consumer with 100% of the vitamin B12 daily Reference Intake (RI). Mushrooms are in fact one of few fresh produces that contain vitamin B12.

In fact, sales of mushrooms are reportedly on the rise by 16%, with a spike in purchases believed to be linked to their health benefits.

This demonstrates that mushrooms are a must-stock for retailers, looking to stock fresh and healthy ingredients in time for the summer barbeque season.

3: How have consumers’ BBQ tastes changed in the last year and what does this mean for convenience retailers?

Brits flavour palettes are evolving, with consumers looking for more versatile and adventurous barbeque products. Over the last few years, more brands have expanded their ranges to produce convenient products packed with flavour, and with evident nutritional benefits.

While travelling abroad has been halted this year, more consumers are experimenting with world flavours and spices at home.

As such, traditional BBQ foods and flavours are shifting, with consumers now looking for exotic, interesting and exciting flavours and marinades in their barbeques, moving away from the traditional burger offering.

As a BBQ staple, British and Irish producers can produce a year-round supply of mushrooms to meet the demand from convenience retailers.
As a plant-based barbeque alternative, mushrooms are rich in umami, which enhances its flavour and gives it a few distinctive health benefits, including letting us cut back on salt without reducing flavour.

4: What emerging BBQ trends have you observed in the past 12 months?

Brits have experienced a renewed focus on health and wellbeing as a result of the pandemic. This has seen healthy eating trends significantly rise over the last year.

Additionally, as consumers’ awareness of the impact of food production and consumption grows, retailers are under pressure to be more transparent about the sustainability credentials of their products.

The healthy eating trend embodies sustainable and conscious eating, with increased emphasis on the importance of buying British, as consumers are more concerned than ever about reducing their food miles.

One of the most significant benefits to mushrooms is that British and Irish producers can produce a year-round supply to meet the demand from UK supermarkets. This is an important distinction as it means that British and Irish mushrooms travel far fewer miles than mushrooms being imported from other Eastern European countries. This not only benefits the environment, but also helps support local farmers and producers, delivering fresher, more nutritious mushrooms as a result. It’s therefore important for retailers to stock products that clearly communicates its British provenance.
Stores should bear this in mind when it comes to their BBQ displays and sales, thinking beyond meat, offering alternatives to conventional products and looking at other ways to make the BBQ offering more attractive.

2 2020: A BBQ summer like no other | AHDB
3 The clean-eating BBQ: barbecue category report 2020 | Category Report | The Grocer
5 Rum do: vegan feasts accompany spirit of summer | News | The Times
6 The exotic British BBQ: barbecue category report 2019 | Category Report | The Grocer
7 Going nuclear: barbecue category report 2021 | Category Report | The Grocer
9 Functional food is no COVID fad: ‘Consumers have fundamentally changed their attitudes to health and wellness’ (
10 Top three sustainability food trends for 2021 – FoodBev Media

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