Traditional barbecues up in smoke

Butchers are noticing a change in routine to consumers’ barbecuing habits, thanks to the unpredictable weather. 

The constant shift in weather patterns and inconsistent sunny spells this year have left the British public uncommitted to having a summer barbecue, according to butchers.

“They can’t plan them,” said Nigel Poxon of Poxons of Castlecroft. “So if it’s a nice hot day, they’ll come in and go mad. There’s no planning. In a good hot summer, people would come in and give you an order for three weeks in advance. You’re getting none of that this year.”

Consumers’ habits have adapted to unreliable weather, something that John Green from Wilsons Butchers has also noticed. In an attempt to keep customers interested in products that would usually be grilled on the barbecue, Wilsons Butchers has begun remarketing items. “We’ve started calling it summer food instead of barbecue food,” said Green. “If the weather were good, you would put barbecue on it. There’s nothing people like better than wanting to get home and get the barbecue out. Because that’s not happening, we’re doing the next best thing.”

Ginger chilli and lime chicken kebabs, alongside chicken steaks, are among Wilsons Butchers’ ‘summer food’ range.

The need for varying barbecue products has been picked up on by butchers across the country. “We’ve had a great increase in marinated products; marinated chicken, lamb chops, pork steaks – things like that,” explained Stephen Robinson of Robinsons Butchers & Delicatessen.

“People are looking for something more than just burgers and sausages,” he continued. “Quite often they’re buying things that have a dual use. We’ll sell a spatchcock chicken, which can be barbecued, or can be cooked in the oven.”

It is not just butchers who have picked up on emerging trends. Supermarket chain Asda has noticed a change in consumers’ barbecuing habits. In a survey carried out by the firm, a reported 44% of consumers have admitted to spending more for barbecue meats, due to a taste for finer foods, whilst over a quarter (27%) claimed that they sought out unconventional and exotic meats to barbecue.

Asda’s beef buyer Neil Moorcroft said: “Burnt bangers and blackened drumsticks are a thing of the past. Today’s BBQs are a flamin’ hot affair, with customers looking for good quality and more exotic meats. We might not be able to guarantee good weather, but with a range of premium breeds from Wagyu to Angus at purse-friendly prices, we can guarantee your BBQ will sizzle!”

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