Not so much the new going out, over the past few months staying in has just been about the only opportunity for consumers to let their hair down. Subscriptions to streaming services have grown dramatically and consumers have been entertaining themselves at home with everything from box sets to board games, cocktail hours to virtual pub quizzes. The Big Night In is as big as it ever has been, creating demand for snacks to share, easy-eats and indulgent treats along the way. Here’s how to tempt the staying-in crowd....
Big up the big night in
With summer coming to an end and the nights drawing in, and with all the uncertainties of the current climate, there are plenty of reasons for a Big Night In this autumn. It’s a cosy, fun and casual way to bring people together and requires little organisation or prior planning but the perfect platform for promoting sharing formats and indulgent treats. As people spend more time at home, watching movies or a Netflix series, there has been a notable spike in demand for sharing formats of items such as crisps and snacks. Sharing packs are incredibly important at the moment, and consumers are looking for larger packs to share with their families at home.
"...rise in demand for replicating that out of home experience at home"
In-home consumption is fuelling growth while the on-the-go occasion has declined. With shoppers increasingly staying at home, eating habits are going to change. People aren’t going out so it's more likely people will be buying more premium crisps and popcorn for consumption at home to replicate that cinema or out the house experience.
Savoury snacking hits
While alcohol is more or less a given for the big night in occasion, there are other key product sections for retailers to consider – snacks, confectionery, soft drinks and party food. The big night in presents a huge opportunity for retailers to increase basket spend in-store, especially within the savoury snacks category, as larger formats of crisps and confectionery continue to be a popular convenient option for shoppers to enjoy with loved ones.
One of the big driving factors to look for is the variety of flavours and delicious ingredients that are changing the face of savoury snacks, from the humble lentil to scrumptious and tasty crunchy cheese bites, these savoury hits ignite all the senses and appeal to customers across the board. Cheesies for example turn cheese into delicious crunchy popped balls that offer the perfect alternative to traditional crisps. The result.... turning a humble lump of cheese into a delicious crunchy popped snack which makes for a great talking point.
It’s not just savoury snacks that go down well with customers, either. We've noticed that sales of the big bags of popcorn always increase in the Autumn. With the rise in demand for replicating that out of home experience at home, consumers can grab a bag of PROPER CORN and head back to their place. Shoppers can even enjoy the experience of making their very own popcorn with the new microwave in bag pack formats from PROPER.
Merchandising crisps and popcorn alongside your core range is the first step for retailers to increase basket spend, as consumers make the natural link between the two categories when stocking up for the Big Night In mission.
Hitting those sweet notes
Retailers need to remember that chocolate is the number one choice for those settling down for a night in with friends or loved ones, followed by sugar confectionery, biscuits and crisps. As confectionery is the most impulsive category in convenience, ensuring availability and creating eye-catching displays are vital. Confectionery is one of the categories that can provide a treat to consumers looking for moments of relaxation and enjoyment at home, especially with all the pressure of the Covid-19 situation.
Doisy & Dam's guest insight with Epicurium recently shone the spotlight on the sharing opportunity. Their new eye-catching share pouch formats include Ballers (dark chocolate balls), dark chocolate buttons and 'D&Ds' - dark chocolate drops with a cheeky crunchy coating.
Almost every area of the confectionery market – from chocolate bars to gourmet candy such as Candy Kittens 138g packs – is in growth. Research puts this down to the ‘lipstick effect’ - the theory that when facing the need to tighten the purse string, shoppers in fact will still be more willing to buy less costly premium goods.
Hanging bags are very important for the occasion and are performing extremely well in the sugar confectionery category, now accounting for 50% of total sugar confectionery sales. However far from confectionery being stuffed with sugars and artificial flavours, the new wave of indulgent snacks are using premium, real ingredients, many of which are vegan or packed with protein. Naturally these recipes are better for you. Not only do they provide consumers with a hit of better foods, they are also conveniently packaged in portion controlled sizes helping shoppers feel a little less guilty.
Sharing is caring
As with snacks and confectionery, it is a wider choice of sharing packs that you should be looking for. You should merchandise sharing bags of popular confectionery brands next to savoury snacks and drinks to encourage bigger basket spends and help shoppers grab everything they need for a night in front of the TV. UK consumers have eaten more sharing bags of crisps over the past few years.
Larger formats are the most obvious winners from The Big Night in. The sharing bag trend has accelerated. Indeed, sales of sharing bags grew 16.2% in the four weeks to 21 March and 32.1% in that final week. Whether these were actually shared is another thing...!
"...retailers should stock a variety of options to cater to consumers seeking healthier alternatives for an evening at home"
The share bag segment is comparable in size to multi-packs, but growing at a much faster rate. Driving this is increased frequency of snacking, consumers viewing share bags as greater value per portion, and a wider availability of flavours and innovation. Recent savoury sharing arrivals to Epicurium now include Hippeas and Properchips - both delivering sharing without a sacrifice in flavour, health or enjoyment.
To make life easier, we've now added a new sharing category online. Treat moments aren’t going away time soon and people are eating everything, including chocolate and crisps, at home in sharing formats a lot more.
Don't forget healthier
Enjoyment and indulgence play a key role in sharing, BUT so does healthier considerations. Today sharing is about better-for-you benefits from healthier, natural ingredients. Retailers should stock a variety of options to cater to consumers seeking healthier alternatives for an evening at home too. Often an overlooked category when it comes to The Big Night In as an occasion, this is a great opportunity to encourage healthier shoppers to fill their basket higher.
The non-potato crisp category is continuing to gain huge traction in an increasingly diverse snacking landscape. Now is the time to welcome super-grains to your sharing fixture with Eat Real. Great value and healthier profits, this range are packed with the who’s who of the healthiest ingredients including Hummus, Lentils and Quinoa. Could this be a great opportunity for creating a bundle offer in store with some cool salsa dips and low & no alcohol such as Drynks Unlimited?
Sourcing the best snacks for the Big Night In with Epicurium
The Big Night In mission is a massive thing for any convenience store. When customers are hungry, stressed, or busy with a hundred other thoughts, retailers need to make it as simple as possible for customers to purchase a snack that is going to nourish them in the comfort of their own home. By providing choices that ramp up that feel-good factor, you can help your team feel revitalised, or keep customers coming back to your shop, enhancing not only your repeat custom, but your reputation, footfall and ultimately sales.
Beyond that, as part of your wider offer, make sure that you have a range that covers all needs and occasions, signposting best-sellers but paying homage to trying something new. With a quick turnaround of 24-48 hours, no minimum order number and free delivery on any order over £80, our team here at Epicurium can have you tapping into freshest Big Night In snacks in no time.