Lydia Baines, Digital and Communications Manager, Puratos UK.
In these uncertain times there is one thing for certain: We are going to celebrate occasions and we are going all out.
Ghosts, ghouls, pumpkins and sugar skulls have been dominating social media and shop displays for weeks, with Halloween versions of iconic favourites such as the Marks and Spencer Percy Pig taking over the shelves and consumer favourites are getting seasonal Halloween twists with spooky flavours and slime.
Before you can blink mince pies of all flavours, catering for all dietary requirements are already competing for shelf space amongst the fiendish fancies as Christmas moves in super early this year!
John Lewis have already launched their Xmas campaign – 10 day before the previous year.
Why the hurry?
Now is the time to get those Christmas products talked about. Social media has seen the impact of lockdown, influencers and the public alike are posting less images of what they are eating out for fear of being shamed.
Shoppers are thinking more practically when it comes to their planning – money will be tight this year, but occasions are a welcome bit of escapism that are so needed during these covid times leading people to start their planning earlier for eagerly anticipated fun events and a time to celebrate.
The rule of 6 and curfews are already in place and a fear of a second lockdown becomes a real possibility, celebrations are going to be set over many days allowing people to celebrate whist sticking to the rules - so think lots of fun snacking foods, nibbles and treats that can be enjoyed with a drink as part of small gatherings and ‘Zoom’ style parties.
• Tell the consumers what they want – with less social media influence, use digital to create a pull with food stories and trends, tell them what they will be eating at Christmas and beyond...
• Create ‘complete’ packages for seasonal events - Barclaycard saw a rise of 88% for the demand of in-home experiences – this market is predicted to grow by 32% over the next year – reaching a value of £168m
• Use storytelling to capitalise on the desire for new culinary experiences and create foods that can be shared & enjoyed
• Add a bit of luxury with gold lustre, sparkle, alcohol flavours, heritage ingredients – top products, fill products – add texture and excitement
• Make sure to include some traditional favourites even spice them up with a twist
Go BIG but on a strict budget with sustainable intentions
• High awareness of seasonal spend and a more planned and budgeted approach – consumers are planning, get the message out now. Christmas will start early.
• Consciousness of food waste and environmental concerns resulting in more planned shopping.
• There has been a huge surge in shoppers looking to buy local to support independent businesses with minimal impact on the environment.
• Plant based has gone premium and provide an excellent substitute for meat / dairy based products.
"With increased focus on price this year make sure your products stand out from the crowd create the 'must-have' product that cannot be compromised or crossed off the shopping list. - Add that bit of luxury with gold lustre, sparkle, alcohol flavours, heritage ingredients... top products, fill products – add texture and excitement"