Now that the temperature has warmed and the evenings are longer, the smell of a barbecue tells us that summer has officially arrived. As this hunger-making scent floats around Europe, consumers head to the supermarkets for grilling inspiration.
Historically, barbecue season resulted in an empty meat and fish aisle by the end of the weekend, but with increase interest in new food ideas, and vegan and vegetarian diets becoming more popular, consumers are looking more towards the fresh produce section for new options.
A variety of food in the summer is not only important for staying hydrated and cool, it's also a fun way to add colour and texture to al fresco meals. Fruit and vegetables are a great source of water in the warmer months and can be used for a lot more than just a side dish or salad.
Cooking fruit and vegetables on the barbecue is as easy as cooking meat or fish. Grilling the vegetables actually produces a chemical reaction where the amino acids and sugars react, this browns the produce and gives it a distinctive, very delicious, flavour. Many supermarkets now provide barbecue options for those wanting to try something beyond the usual hamburger and hotdog.
Retailers play an important part in educating consumers on alternative options for the barbecue, particularly when it comes to fresh produce ideas. This is also very helpful for those that need to cater for vegetarians, pescatarians, or vegans.
Consumers are trying to find food that is easy to cook, but any food cooked too quickly or incorrectly on a barbecue can leave people assuming something doesn't work. Retailers can play an important role in providing tips and recipes for consumers to tempt them to vary their barbecue menu. Easy to cook is likely to mean easy to eat, and in our current culture this is generally what consumers are looking for. Vegetables also bring a vibrant range of textures and colour to a barbecue, something that meat and fish are generally unable to do.
We recommend retailers educate customers about vegetables, reminding them how versatile they are and showing them new ways of using them aside from the usual boiling methods, and inspiring them to try something for the first time. Recipes, tips and cooking suggestions will encourage people to try new products, new ways of serving more familiar items, and will increase fresh produce sales.
Using imagery and marketing strategically placed in store will help consumers associate certain fresh produce with barbecues once they are in the supermarket. Alternatively including certain vegetables that cook well on a barbecue in pre-prepared packs can also assist the consumer with their choices and encourage them to try new things.
Fruit also plays a great part in the barbecue meal, providing a delicious dessert option, and creating a clever way to use the barbecue for an entire meal.
Some of our favourite barbecued fresh produce recipes include:
- Pepper, onion, mushroom and tomato brochette (or any vegetable variation you choose)
- Grilled courgette with paprika
- Roast avocado
- Aubergine burgers
- Vegetable and halloumi kebabs
And for dessert:
- Pineapple and mango brochette (or any fruit variation you choose)
- Barbecue banana split with chocolate/marshmallows
- Roast pineapple
- Strawberry and marshmallow kebabs
Why not help your consumers make their barbecues unique this year with fresh ideas about how to use produce on their barbecues?