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Seasonal Celebration Foods - UK - May 2019

“The deluge of seasonal foods at these peak times of year makes it more challenging than ever for products to stand out. In this overcrowded space the need to grab shoppers’ attention has prompted a raft of unusual and playful innovation, injecting more fun into the market, appealing to consumers’ experimental natures and sparking conversation.
However, there are plentiful opportunities to create compelling points of difference which remain largely unexplored. Looking to greener packaging solutions would be very timely, seasonal chocolates in particular being notorious offenders for over-packaging.”

–    Emma Clifford, Associate Director of Food and Drink Research

This report will look at the following areas:

  • The time is right for greener packaging for seasonal celebration foods
  • Ethical products can play on the giving and caring messages of Christmas
  • Opportunities for more products which prevent and remedy overindulgence

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Rising real incomes promote spending on seasonal celebrations
              • Figure 1: Annual change in CPI and average weekly earnings, January 2012-January 2019
            • Meat reduction and vegan trends don’t stop for seasonal occasions
              • Rise of the discounters continues
                • The time is right for greener packaging for seasonal celebration foods
                  • Companies and brands
                    • 2018 was a peak year for seasonal celebration NPD
                      • Seasonal occasions drive peaks in adspend
                        • The consumer
                          • Near universal purchasing of seasonal food thanks to Christmas
                            • Figure 2: Purchasing of food for seasonal occasions, January 2019
                            • Figure 3: Purchasing of food for seasonal occasions, by product type, January 2019
                          • Traditional products are winners, but there’s scope for a twist
                            • Figure 4: Factors looked for when buying food for seasonal occasions, January 2019
                          • Retailers can build loyalty by supporting savvy shopping
                            • Customised selection boxes appeal widely
                              • Figure 5: Behaviours relating to seasonal celebration food, January 2019
                            • Ethical concerns take more of a backseat, widespread concerns over plastic packaging
                              • Figure 6: Attitudes towards seasonal celebration food, January 2019
                            • A common perception of seasonal ranges being overpriced
                              • Figure 7: Correspondence analysis of qualities associated with the food offering in supermarkets for seasonal occasions, January 2019
                            • What we think
                            • Issues and Insights

                              • The time is right for greener packaging for seasonal celebration foods
                                • The facts
                                  • The implications
                                    • Ethical products can play on the giving and caring messages of Christmas
                                      • The facts
                                        • The implications
                                          • Opportunities for more products which prevent and remedy overindulgence
                                            • The facts
                                              • The implications
                                              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                • Rising real incomes will promote spending on seasonal celebrations
                                                  • Meat reduction and vegan trends don’t stop for seasonal occasions
                                                    • Rise of the discounters continues
                                                      • The time is right for greener packaging for seasonal celebration foods
                                                      • Market Drivers

                                                        • Rising real incomes promote spending on seasonal celebrations
                                                            • Figure 8: Annual change in CPI and average weekly earnings, January 2012-January 2019
                                                          • Savvy shopping habits are well entrenched
                                                            • Meat reduction and vegan trends don’t stop for seasonal occasions
                                                              • Free-from trend still offers opportunities for seasonal celebration foods
                                                                • Rise of the discounters continues
                                                                  • The time is right for greener packaging for seasonal celebration foods
                                                                    • Seasonal occasions lead to concerns over food waste
                                                                      • Shrinking household sizes could hamper spending on seasonal occasions
                                                                      • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                        • 2018 was a peak year for seasonal celebration NPD
                                                                          • Traditional favourites get exciting new twists
                                                                            • A raft of novelty festive launches
                                                                              • Vegan NPD is a hotbed of activity
                                                                                • Seasonal occasions drive peaks in adspend
                                                                                  • Iceland and Tesco focus on their ethics
                                                                                  • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                    • Methodology
                                                                                      • 2018 was a peak year for seasonal celebration NPD
                                                                                        • Figure 9: Launches of food specifically for Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day and Halloween, as a share of all food NPD, 2014-18
                                                                                      • Traditional favourites get exciting new twists
                                                                                        • Activity has been rife in hot cross buns
                                                                                            • Figure 10: Examples of new launches of hot cross buns, 2019
                                                                                          • The humble mince pie gets a makeover
                                                                                            • A raft of novelty festive launches
                                                                                              • Non-seasonal products take on quirky seasonal flavours
                                                                                                • Figure 11: Examples of novelty flavoured launches for Christmas 2018
                                                                                              • Morrisons showcased ingredients not for the faint-hearted for Halloween
                                                                                                • Novelty shapes create playful seasonal products
                                                                                                  • Figure 12: Examples of novelty shaped chocolate launches for Easter 2019
                                                                                                • Easter eggs also look beyond usual flavours and ingredients
                                                                                                  • Retailers look to create a visual spectacle
                                                                                                    • Figure 13: Tesco Easter Egg Smash Cake, 2018
                                                                                                    • Figure 14: Examples of novelty unicorn launches for Easter 2019 and Christmas 2018
                                                                                                  • Strong activity in seasonal free-from food
                                                                                                    • Figure 15: Share of launches of food specifically for Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day and Halloween carrying free-from claims, 2015-18
                                                                                                    • Figure 16: Examples of free-from launches for Christmas 2018
                                                                                                  • A sharp rise in vegan activity
                                                                                                    • Vegan seasonal confectionery takes off
                                                                                                    • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                                                      • Seasonal occasions drive peaks in adspend
                                                                                                        • Figure 17: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on food, by month, January 2015-April 2019
                                                                                                      • The major food retailers only dominate adspend during the festive period
                                                                                                        • Figure 18: Share of total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on food from the UK’s leading supermarkets*, by month, January 2015-April 2019
                                                                                                      • Iceland and Tesco focus on their ethics
                                                                                                        • Iceland makes a bold statement with its Christmas ad on palm oil
                                                                                                          • Tesco pushes ethical credentials of its chocolate in the run-up to Easter
                                                                                                            • Companies look to bring a personal feel to advertising
                                                                                                              • M&S puts real people at the centre of its Christmas ad
                                                                                                                • Co-op also bring shoppers to the forefront
                                                                                                                  • Lidl continues its usual humorous approach to advertising
                                                                                                                    • Cadbury celebrates the ritual of Secret Santa
                                                                                                                      • Cadbury brings a digital element to its Easter egg hunt in 2019
                                                                                                                        • Asda looks to AR for its Halloween advertising
                                                                                                                          • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                                                                          • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                            • Near universal purchasing of seasonal food thanks to Christmas
                                                                                                                              • Traditional products are winners, but scope for a twist
                                                                                                                                • Indulgence trumps healthiness
                                                                                                                                  • Retailers can build loyalty by supporting savvy shopping
                                                                                                                                    • Customised selection boxes appeal widely
                                                                                                                                      • Ethical concerns take more of a backseat
                                                                                                                                        • Widespread concerns about the amount of plastic packaging
                                                                                                                                          • A common perception of seasonal ranges being overpriced
                                                                                                                                            • Positive associations with occasions other than Christmas are limited
                                                                                                                                            • Purchasing of Food for Seasonal Occasions

                                                                                                                                              • Nine in 10 consumers buy food for seasonal occasions
                                                                                                                                                • Driven by the huge popularity of Christmas
                                                                                                                                                  • A minority of consumers bought food for Halloween and Valentine’s Day
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 19: Purchasing of food for seasonal occasions, January 2019
                                                                                                                                                  • Purchasing of food for Easter, Halloween and Valentine’s Day heavily skewed towards under-35s
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 20: Purchasing of food for seasonal occasions, by age, January 2019
                                                                                                                                                  • Spending power also has a strong influence over purchasing
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 21: Purchasing of food for seasonal occasions, by socio-economic group and household income, January 2019
                                                                                                                                                  • Limited purchasing of food beyond seasonal occasions in most traditional categories
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 22: Purchasing of food for seasonal occasions, by product type, January 2019
                                                                                                                                                • Choice Factors for Seasonal Celebration Food

                                                                                                                                                  • Traditional products are most popular…
                                                                                                                                                    • …but on-trend twists on traditional favourites can add excitement and garner standout
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 23: Factors looked for when buying food for seasonal occasions, January 2019
                                                                                                                                                    • Indulgent products are winners
                                                                                                                                                      • Portion control can help avoid overindulgence
                                                                                                                                                        • One in five look for healthy options
                                                                                                                                                          • Healthy products with seasonal twists have widespread appeal
                                                                                                                                                          • Behaviours Relating to Seasonal Celebration Food

                                                                                                                                                            • Consumers balance cost saving with splurging on seasonal celebration food
                                                                                                                                                              • Retailers can build loyalty by supporting savvy shopping
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 24: Behaviours relating to seasonal celebration food, January 2019
                                                                                                                                                              • Helping shoppers to reduce food waste offers money-saving benefits
                                                                                                                                                                • Brands and retailers can help consumers to impress others
                                                                                                                                                                  • A helping hand in creating impressive dishes should appeal
                                                                                                                                                                    • Tips and tutorials can be given more visibility
                                                                                                                                                                      • Scope for more products which remedy overindulgence
                                                                                                                                                                      • Attitudes towards Seasonal Celebration Food

                                                                                                                                                                        • Customised selection boxes appeal widely
                                                                                                                                                                          • Quality Street offered opportunity at John Lewis stores
                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 25: Attitudes towards seasonal celebration food, January 2019
                                                                                                                                                                          • Personalisation can be taken to a new level with 3D printing
                                                                                                                                                                            • Ethical concerns take more of a backseat…
                                                                                                                                                                              • …but products can play on the festive messages of goodwill…
                                                                                                                                                                                • …and play on the feelgood factor of ethical purchasing
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Widespread concerns about the amount of plastic packaging
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Hotel Chocolat sets the bar high
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Perceptions of the Food Offering for Seasonal Occasions

                                                                                                                                                                                      • Methodology
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 26: Correspondence analysis of qualities associated with the food offering in supermarkets for seasonal occasions, January 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                      • A common perception of products being overpriced
                                                                                                                                                                                        • Christmas scores well on positive attributes
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Opportunities to target those overwhelmed by the choice for Christmas
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 27: Qualities associated with the food offering in supermarkets for seasonal occasions, January 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 28: Further qualities associated with the food offering in supermarkets for seasonal occasions, January 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                          • Positive associations with occasions other than Christmas are limited
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Halloween and Valentine’s Day products are widely seen as tacky
                                                                                                                                                                                              • Valentine’s Day products delivering on quality and excitement
                                                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 29: Examples of launches for Valentine’s Day scoring high on quality and exciting, 2019
                                                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Consumer research methodology

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Seasonal Celebration Foods - UK - May 2019

                                                                                                                                                                                                  US $2,552.20 (Excl.Tax)