Five trends that will add some flavour to the 2024 BBQ season according to Colruyt Group

Five trends that will add some flavour to the 2024 BBQ season according to Colruyt Group

Monday, April 29, 2024

Like many Belgians, Colruyt Group’s store formats are also ready for the new BBQ season. Colruyt Lowest Prices, Okay, Bio-Planet, Spar and Cru thoroughly measured last year’s sales and used that info to predict this year’s trends. For example, we’re already toasting with more non-alcoholic options, skewers aren’t just holding meat and veg together around the barbecue, and we prefer to eat our vegetables in their purest possible form.

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Non-alcoholic drinks have a place on the summer table

Non-alcoholic is on the rise: 1 in 3 customers buys a non-alcoholic alternative at Colruyt Lowest Prices. This was 1 in 5 the year before. It’s clear that Belgians are becoming increasingly mindful of alcohol and their health.

Sales of non-alcoholic drinks invariably peak in the summer. At Colruyt Lowest Prices, it accounted for 3 million litres in the summer of 2023. So you can definitely have a banging barbecue with a non-alcoholic alternative.

Non-alcoholic beer is the most popular category, which is why Colruyt is providing nine new beers this summer, including Pico Bello from Brussels Beer Project, Bières des Amis 0.0% from Neobulles, Troubadour Zestra from The Musketeers Brewery, and Vicaris Nano from Dillewijns Brewery. Customers can expect another exclusive non-alcoholic version of a well-known beer in their Colruyt store by the summer.

Among alcoholic drinks, rosé is Belgium’s sky-high summer favourite. On an annual basis, Colruyt sells more than 9 million litres of rosé, half of which is during the summer months.

Savouring new flavours

Of course, you can’t have an aperitif without an appetiser. Belgians are already daring to go all out with something special as their amuse bouche. Appetisers are an ideal way to satisfy your curiosity about new flavours. Spar Colruyt Group has understood this, which is why, from this season onwards, they’re offering shrimp skewers with lemon and pepper, asparagus hummus, sweety drops (droplet-shaped peppers), and an aioli dip.

And, of course, we always associate new flavours with Cru. The Cru fresh market has a ready-made platter of freshly prepared appetisers such as coppa d’oggiono, gordal olives, a bell pepper & aubergine tapenade, stuffed grape leaves, and spiced anchovies ready and waiting for customers. Okay is also chipping in with new bruschettas and patatas bravas from the Wajos brand.

Main course classics: easy and budget-friendly

Unlike the aperitif, Belgians appear less adventurous with the main course. This summer, Colruyt Group expects mainly classics to show up on the grill once again. The two main drivers for this are convenience and budget.

Hamburgers and sausages are easy and budget-friendly products, so they sell quickly. Colruyt Lowest Prices sells 32 tonnes of burgers and 70 tonnes of sausages per week during the summer period. Specifically chipolatas – the most popular sausages – which Colruyt sold 272,000 kg of in the summer of 2023. That’s more than enough links to cover the distance from Brussels to Paris and back (±650 km). The meat in the Colruyt butcher’s department is 99%* Belgian. What is available in Belgium is purchased in Belgium.

Sales at Spar also speak volumes: 7 tonnes of sausages, almost 6 tonnes of burgers, almost 6 tonnes of brochettes, 5 tonnes of spare ribs, and 2.5 tonnes of barbecue platters are sold every week. Burgers also do well at Cru, as do pure cuts of beef.

Those who still want to try something new should definitely take a look at Spar. The neighbourhood stores are surprising customers with a tomahawk of Belgian white-blue, lacquered pork belly, Belgian veal spare ribs with a teriyaki marinade, and capons with a thyme and lemon marinade. Capon has a more distinct flavour than chicken, making it a unique choice for a barbecue.

Customers will also find the brand-new berner sausage, a frankfurter filled with Swiss cheese and wrapped in bacon, at Colruyt Lowest Prices. In addition, the store format is also unpacking a ‘Better Chicken Commitment’ chicken sausage for the barbecue. Of course, poultry is also a must-have for the grill and is becoming increasingly popular.

Seeking connection around the grill

We prefer to eat together. And a cosy barbecue is the perfect opportunity to bring people together, which is why it’s important that there is something tasty for everyone.

One solution is to provide a wide range of small portions. You can do so by choosing different types of skewers. Colruyt Lowest Prices has had the popular brazades in its range for several years, with the chicken brazade standing out as the best sellers. The rabbit brazades are new this year.

Fish lovers can also enjoy smaller skewer portions at Colruyt, thanks to the salmon brazades or the scampi skewers with garlic or chilli from the house brand Boni Selection. These are available in Spar too, where customers will also find fresh salmon brochettes.

In addition, the Colruyt Lowest Prices frozen section is worth a visit for the ideal barbecue products such as sardines, tuna steaks, and skin-on salmon and Cape hake. The latter two are new to the range.

Vegetarians were already able to find as many as 103 meat substitute products at Colruyt. More than half of these are entirely plant-based. Five new products will be added for the upcoming BBQ season: sausages, ‘meatball’ brochettes, skewers (more again!) in various flavours, and two brand-new barbecue burgers from Greenway.

Of course, Bio-Planet is also a safe haven for vegetarians and vegans, with an extensive range of vegetarian and vegan products. Tip for the BBQ: La Vie est Belle’s new falafels. These are made with yellow peas grown in Belgium instead of chickpeas, making them a more sustainable version of the Middle Eastern delicacy. Cru also jumps into the breach with some new vegetarian alternatives: vegetable brochettes and burgers, vegan tripe, and cheese brochettes for the grill.

Customers can use the latter product to please the cheese lovers at home. Halloumi and Berloumi are delightful barbecue cheeses, and grilled Camembert also remains a favourite of Colruyt Group customers. Plus, cheese works very well in side dishes. During the summer months of 2023, Colruyt Lowest Prices sold 1,658 tonnes of mozzarella and 433 tonnes of feta. The Everyday mozzarella is doing especially well.

Back to basics for side dishes and desserts

Side dishes packed with vegetables are becoming increasingly important for a successful barbecue. This is a reflection of the growing desire for unprocessed food. Leaders in the Colruyt range: courgettes with sales of 1,500 tonnes between June and September 2023, iceberg lettuce with 1.3 million heads sold in the same period, and 336,000 portobello mushrooms sold.

Those who want to make vegetables the eye-catcher on the table can count on Bio-Planet and Seppe Nobels. They share a passion for local, organic vegetables and are joining forces to create recipes in which vegetables play the leading role.

But sometimes we like to make things easy on ourselves. Colruyt and Spar sell vegetable mixes that are pre-seasoned, so you can put them straight on the grill. Both stores also offer a prepared solution for potatoes. Okay also goes for convenience with three pre-grilled vegetables from the Orticorti brand: artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and aubergines.

And for dessert? There, too, Belgians are opting for the purest form. We prefer to grill stone fruit or pineapple directly on the barbecue. Or serve up some refreshing watermelon when temperatures rise. Colruyt sold as much as 1,753 tonnes of watermelon from June to September 2023.

*The Irish ribeye is the only piece of beef of non-Belgian origin in Colruyt's butchery.