Budgens expands on its barbecue range this summer

RECOGNISING THE growing popularity of al fresco eating, Budgens has expanded its meat and poultry offering this season.

"Our barbecue season runs from May to September," says Phil Punter, Musgrave Budgens Londis trading manager. "Although the weather is never reliable, the development of hardware has had a very strong influence on the market. The UK has become more garden-conscious. The easy availability of patio heaters, for example, has really boosted barbecue opportunities."

Informal entertaining is also driving trade, while major sporting events, such as the upcoming World Cup, are likely to offer further opportunities."Key factors are the weather, the opportunity and, of course, availability," says Punter. "People are definitely becoming more experimental and it's important that retailers and manufacturers respond to that in our new product development."

Budgens' own-label barbecue range includes lamb kebabs, pork ribs, chicken drumsticks and hot-and-spicy chicken. The products are packaged in foil trays, which provides an alternative cooking method if weather prevents barbecuing. Promotions will include a number of special offers.

"We will be giving the barbecue an extra push by featuring products in our press advertising and via barbecue-specific PoS incorporating the National BBQ Association's logo where appropriate," says Punter. "We will also be highlighting barbecue on our website as well as linking into the National BBQ Association's site. Barbecue is a great opportunity for meat and retailers need to make the most of it."

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