30 May, 2024

Unlock Success with the Essential Summer 2024 Retail Trends for Food & Drink Producers

The past few weeks have seen the introduction of summer ranges across all major retailers. Stephanie Walsh, from her experience as a Food Business Consultant and formerly as a senior buyer, explains the crucial role seasonal categories play in grocery retail.

"Seasonal promotions, discounts and marketing campaigns drive consumer store visits and basket spend with holiday periods, such as bank holidays, usually seeing an increase in sales of certain seasonal products. Summer, for example, always sees an emphasis on barbeques, salads and ice creams”. Food and drink producers should take advantage of this opportunity as retailers look to meet customer expectations and maximise sales.

Meat and poultry are always key categories for summer as barbeque season gets underway. In the month of May, Irish shoppers spent an additional €614k on sausages and an additional €497k on chilled burgers and grills compared to the previous month (Kantar, 2024).

Promotional activity is used to drive footfall in a category, enticing customers to buy more and increase their spending. Promotional activity in this category includes Dunnes Stores3 for €10’ across their meat and fish range. Supervalu also hasmix-and-match 3 for €10’ on meat and poultry. Tesco has a Clubcard offer of ‘any 3 for 2’ on selected Tesco meat products. As a food producer, it is important to track promotional activity among competitors in your category so you have a deep understanding of the promotional landscape. This will help you make good promotional offer decisions.

Innovation is important to maintain competitive advantage and stay attractive and relevant to customers. For example, while burgers are well-established staples of barbeque season, innovation in the burger category can be seen across all retailers. Spanish flavour influences can be seen in Supervalu’s Signature Tastes Chorizo Burger with Spanish chorizo and Certified Irish Hereford Prime beef (284g / €3.99) and Dunnes Stores’ Simply Better Irish Angus Smoked Paprika Steak Burgers (454g / €4.25). Alternatives to the traditional beef burger include Supervalu Signature Tastes Gourmet Lamb Burgers (300g / €3.99) and Macroom Buffalo Burgers 2-pack (227g / €3.50). New products include Tesco Fire Pit Red Onion Flavoured Beef Burgers (454g / €4) and Aldi Specially Selected Angus Beef Burgers with Memphis BBQ Style Seasoning / with Garlic and Onion seasoning (280g / €3.49). Premiumisation, especially within own-brand ranges, is a key trend coming through here. In May, premium own label performed particularly strongly, with Irish shoppers spending an extra €18.4m year-on-year, up 12.6% compared to this time last year (Kantar, 2024).

The ice cream category comes into its own in the summer months. Promotional activity in this category includes an ‘Any 2 for €4’ Clubcard Price across Tesco’s own brand range of ice cream and ice lolly multipacks and an ‘Any 2 for €6’ Clubcard Price on branded multipacks. Magnum multipacks are on offer in Dunnes Stores; ‘Buy 2 for €6’. Dunnes’ range of own-brand ice lollies is also on promotion for ‘Buy 2 for €3’.

Trends in the category this season include indulgent flavours and flavour combinations. Aldi has new Popcorn Toffee Ice Cream sticks (4 x 100ml / €2.49) and new Cookies & Cream Ice Cream Tub (480ml / €2.75). Tesco has released a new Tesco Finest Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream tub (500ml / €4). Pink lemonade is a flavour influence in the category this season; Mangum has released a new ‘Euphoria Pink Lemonade’ ice cream stick. New to the Specially Selected Range in Aldi are Pink Lemonade Lollies (4x73ml / on offer for €1.49, down from €2.79).

Other exciting new products in this category include Magnum's vegan ‘Chill Blueberry Cookie’ ice cream stick and a cornetto-style Kinder Bueno ice cream cone, which will be available this summer.

What is the relevance of these key categories and trends to you as a food and drink producer?

Opportunity: Summer is an opportunity for retailers to test innovative flavours in the market, and retailers will be on the lookout for new product ranges that will interest and excite their customers. Test listings for seasonal products can often turn into longer-term listings. Test listings are also a great opportunity to learn how retail works and gain experience as a retail supplier. If you are a supplier that plays into the summer category, you should review your category and start creating proposals for retailers for summer 2024.

Innovation and inspiration: If you don’t have a product line that plays into the summer category, consider if there are innovations you can make to capitalise on the season. Aldi has launched a Colada Pineapple &Coconut (€12.99) version of their Ballycastle Cream Liqueur. While cream liqueur is not a traditional summer product, the flavour innovation allows them to play into the summer category.

As a food and drink producer, it is important to monitor and be aware of new flavours and trends. Go out into the market and visit stores to further your understanding of the category; What trends are out there? What innovations have been introduced to the market this year? Will these trends carry over to summer 2025? If possible, get data on these trends from industry sources, including Mintel and Kantar. Consider how these trends could be incorporated into your product lines.

Range Reviews: Retailers carry out range reviews in the middle of the summer to review a product’s commercial performance in terms of sales rate, margin mix, turnover and other metrics. They also review packaging and quality of products and analyse competitors’ products to inform decision-making for summer 2024. As a supplier you should contact your buyer to find out when the range review is taking place. It is the perfect (Source Aldi.ie) timing for proposals as buyers will be considering product lines for next summer. Conduct a gap analysis in retailers, let the retailer know if they are missing an item on-shelf and consider if you can fill that gap. Arrange samples of new product lines or innovations in your product range to send to buyers.

In conclusion, the summer season offers a great opportunity for food and drink producers if they align their products with the prevailing trends. By staying informed, understanding consumer preferences, and proactively engaging with retailers, producers can position themselves for success during the summer season and beyond.

At ifac we work with a wide range of food and drink businesses from small scale producers at the beginning of their business journey to well-established, medium, and large enterprises. We specialise in a number of key areas to provide food and drink producers with the expert advice and services needed to help their business grow including helping to access funding, strategic planning, conducting product feasibility studies, financial planning and accountancy services. With 30 offices around the country, the ifac Food and Agribusiness team connects their clients with a wider team of local and national experts within the company. This approach ensures business owners always have access to the knowledge and specialist advice needed to help their business grow.


Stephanie Walsh stephaniewalsh@ifac.ie or (087) 6061478

Aisling Donnellan aislingdonnellan@ifac.ie or (087) 3689360

*Prices correct as of 22/05/2024.