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Grill seekers

02 May, 2006
Forecourts need to get ready because as soon as the sun comes out, so do the barbecues
Page 38 

Make the most of summer sales opportunities

The summer brings with it all sorts of sales opportunities. Hot days mean heavy demand for ice creams and cold drinks. Day trippers need to fill up their cars with fuel and their passengers with snacks, while holiday makers need to buy those last-minute items like batteries for the camera. Then there are the picnics and barbecues to cater for, and barbecues have become something of a national institution. Whatever the weather, if a summer barbecue's been planned you can bet it will still take place. According to the National BBQ Association, 100 million barbecues took place in the UK last year, making us Europe's biggest barbecue fanatics.
Burgers are a barbecue staple and the biggest frozen burger brand is Birds Eye, which accounts for nearly half of all frozen burgers sold.Birds Eye is boosting its burger range in time for the 2006 barbecue season, with the launch of a new premium line-up plus the relaunch of its family range, all backed by a 1m-plus marketing investment.The aim of the new Birds Eye Premium 100% beef range is to entice consumers back from chilled burgers to frozen. To this end, the Premium range includes two new products: hot & spicy and barbecue 100% beef quarter pounders. These join 100% beef quarter pounders and 100% beef mega burgers. Meanwhile the relaunch of the UK's best-selling frozen burger, Birds Eye original beef burgers, includes '24 for the price of 20' and '16 for the price of 12' promotional activity to boost sales further.John Farrell, Birds Eye trading director, says: "Forecourt retailers can capitalise on Birds Eye's prominent position in the market by making sure they have a selection of the new beef burgers on shelf, especially on hot days in the summer, when everyone gets the barbecue out."Of course Birds Eye is not the only burger brand available. Over at Northern Foods Frozen Division, they have been busy developing the Ross burger range. A new addition is the beef quarter pounder Topper which includes tomato relish sachets in the pack. The Ross range will be supported by a national women's consumer press campaign as well as by sampling.For consumers wanting to turn a burger into a cheeseburger, individually-wrapped Kraft Singles slices are ideal. Forecourt retailers are advised to stock Singles in fives, which are available price-marked at 65p. Kraft reckons that by selling at the marked price, retailers can benefit from significant volume uplifts, meaning they can increase the cash going through their tills. Kraft Foods' Dairylea Slices are also available, pricemarked at 1.25.Finally, sauces and condiments are an important part of a barbecue - indeed many people wouldn't dream of eating a burger without ketchup. In fact Heinz says households with barbecues are heavier buyers of Heinz Tomato Ketchup than those without.Heinz also makes two barbecue sauces: original BBQ sauce and hot 'n' sizzling BBQ sauce; and 80% of their sales occur in prime barbecue season - from May to August. The company says its sauces can benefit from dual siting - with other sauces and condiments but also within the barbecue display. You should also make room for Heinz Salad Cream, which has an 80% value share of the salad cream market. Sixty per cent of its sales are between April and September. Just launched for summer is Heinz Extra Light Salad Cream which contains less fat, sugar and salt than Heinz Salad Cream Light.SUMMER CAR CAREThe better weather and lighter evenings spur more people on to washing their cars. Graham Tissiman, sales and marketing manager at CDG, says there's an 85% uplift in car polish sales during the summer. CDG has two planograms for retailers - a winter and a summer one. For winter it's full of de-icers, winter screen washes, ice scrapers and damp start, for summer, there are more valeting lines. "Our winter planogram has one shelf of valeting products whereas our summer one has two. We increase the facings and the type of products so we recommend things like dashboard wipes, wheel cleaners and chamois leathers," says Tissiman.The water shortage could be a concern but he doesn't think the widespread hosepipe bans will have much effect on car cleaning. "There might be a slight decrease in sales but using a bucket instead of a hose will not be a problem for the keen car care user," he says.Of course with most forecourt stores now full-on convenience stores, there is less space for car care lines but Tissiman warns that retailers should not neglect them. "Consumers expect to find car care products in a forecourt store so you need to satisfy those consumer requirements. If someone's bulb has blown they will often go to the forecourt to replace it, if you haven't got it then you will get a bad reputation. Car care is important for forecourts because of consumer expectations and because of the high margins available on the products." Tissiman says the summer brings an uplift in lubricant sales as consumers check their oil, water and tyre pressure before making long journeys. "Retailers need to keep stocked up with the 1ltr and 2ltr packs because if people are driving along and their orange light comes on they will drive to their nearest forecourt to top up."CDG does not just offer car care lines, it also has other non-food items like healthcare and Tissiman advises forecourts to stock summer lines like hayfever remedies as well as all-year-round lines like travel sickness pills and headache tablets.Finally, he says the World Cup will provide additional sales revenue this summer and CDG is stocking a range of goods including England air fresheners from Car Plan and Magic Tree as well as England flags and sunglasses.Meanwhile, automotive parts and accessories distributor Maccess, has given forecourt and convenience retailers a boost after launching a new spring display stand, designed to maximise sales potential.The company is a long-time specialist in the car care arena and, according to national business development manager, Alistair Wright, invests considerable resources in monitoring key sector trends and then demonstrating how retailers can achieve exceptional profit-on-return of around 40-60%.Latest research conducted by Maccess has identified that there are more women purchasing car care products than ever before. "This is because women feel more comfortable in a customer-friendly retail environment, where they are able to purchase all the goods they require from under one roof," says Wright.He also outlined key sales winners for retailers during the spring/summer car care season. These include dashboard and upholstery cleaners, waxes, polishes and accessories such as air fresheners.MUG SHOTSThe latest developments in travel mugs have been launched by Pacific Market International, which owns the Stanley, MiGo and Aladdin brands. The company's managing director, John Wilkins, says the new mugs have been designed to revolutionise the way people eat and drink on the go: "They combine unparalleled heat and cool retention capabilities with contemporary designs, creating a practical fashion accessory you'll wonder how you ever lived without." Prices range from 4.99 for the Aero Water Tumbler with straw, which features double-wall insulation, a closing lid to prevent spills and comes in three colours - evening blue, coral ice and lilac mist; to 6.50 for the 16oz Abbey Traveler with its polypearl flowers and raspberry or robin's egg blue matching comfort grip handle and lid.