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Food for thought: making the most of summer business

Summer is a time for great food, barbecues and al fresco fun - so it’s a crucial time for all businesses in the food industry.

The news is full of heatwave warnings, everyone's being told to layer on the sun lotion and disposable barbecues are flying off the supermarket shelves - for once, it's safe to say summer is finally here.

So now the sun is out and the skies are blue, surely it's the time to kick back and relax? Or why not spend a day at the coast? Maybe even shoot off for a long weekend in one of the UK's more scenic locations?

Well if we had the time then we'd all be clambering to ditch the work shirts and throw on the sunglasses - but for businesses that ply their trade in the summer months, now is the time when things get crazy.

Specifically we're talking about the food industry, particularly producers that make products perfectly suited to the sunny season - and retailers that sell them. Burgers, sausages, cold drinks, picnic nibbles and ice-cream are all up there among the summer favourites.

Happy spenders

Chain supermarkets are bound to enjoy an increase in sales of certain products during the current heatwave - but some smaller food businesses rely on bumper summer months to generate the lion's share of their annual profits

Warm weather tends to make people happier and gets them out of the house - and this in turn means they are very willing spenders. Indeed, figures released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) have revealed how the climate can have a positive impact on business.

According to statistics for June, high streets saw a 1.4% monthly increase in footfall while out-of-town locations had a 0.6% jump. The numbers might be modest, but they're promising all the same - and with the high temperatures continuing in July, another monthly increase wouldn't be surprising.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson suggested the hot weather could have contributed to the growth in the amount of people taking to the stores - and with Asda claiming to have seen a 204 per cent surge in barbecue sales, hungry shoppers are going to need food to go with their charcoal.

Chain supermarkets are bound to enjoy an increase in sales of certain products during the current heatwave - but some smaller food businesses rely on bumper summer months to generate the lion's share of their annual profits. There's a clear opportunity for independents to get as many people as possible through their doors or attracted to their pop-up stands. If you're in the food and drink industry, how will you seize the moment?

Image credit: Christopher Craig

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