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Good cheer over festive food

28 November 2011

Compared to last year both sides of the snack industry, retail and foodservice seem to be very positive about the festive season approaching as many have seen an improvement in sales and growth

According to Mintel, "Nine in 10 British adults eat snacks between meals, nearly half of them on a daily basis. There are in total an estimated 13 billion at-home snacking occasions a year, and 6.4 billion occasions on the go."

With the build-up to Christmas, what should we expect this festive season? Ben Perkins head of food and drink research at Mintel, says: "Today's food consumers concentrate on four key areas; provenance (local sourcing and traceability), the ability to have a 'quick snack', the idea of exclusive dining and the ability to have a healthy lifestyle''.

There may be a slight increase in demand in terms of traceability and quality from customers but the fact is dining out and snacking is going to be a prominent occurrence this festive season.

Mathew Shropshall, glennans' sponsored competition chef, adds: "Consumers are better educated when it comes to snacks and eating out. However price and the economy is also still a major concern. The end result is savvy consumers wanting creative and experimental dishes and snacks that use local and seasonal produce and ingredients all at an affordable price."

Not only are consumer's tastes changing and awareness of provenance increasing but consumers with dietary requirements are also expecting much more from the average snack. "Manufacturers and the foodservice industry as a whole need to be more aware of providing a variety of good quality products that are suitable for consumers with food allergies."

Whether it is consumers entertaining at home or eating out during this festive period, sophisticated party food is just as essential as pervious years for all winter parties and New Year events. It is also important to have good quality ingredients that are flexible and that allow caterers and chefs to create various dishes.

There seems to be a more positive feel towards snacking and dining out this festive season as restaurants and caterers prepare for the upcoming season. What can we expect next year? Richard Thompson, brand manager at glennans, explains: "This festive season there will be a definite increase in consumers eating out and buying snacks. This follows trends from the US where there has been a steady increase. However, consumers will still be happy to indulge over the Christmas, New Year period and hopefully the following year too."

BULLET: Classic Cuisine has released several Christmas products including Duck Confit, with a chilli cherry jam; French Duck Leg, slow cooked in individual pouches until tender, accompanied by a light chilli cherry jam; and Beef Wellington with a red wine and brandy jus.

"This year we’re seeing less of the generic sliced meat in gravy and more individual portion meals,’’ says Mark Dean, sales director at Classic Cuisine.

"We at Classic Cuisine believe this is owing to consumers opting to indulge more when dining out, be it less regularly owing to the current economic situation. This can also be said for our current pattern of sales over the past few months. We’re finding our more indulgent dishes are becoming a choice purchase for our customer's consumers."

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