With Apple TV+ and Britbox recently joining the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime, and Disney+ launching next year, there are even more reasons for family and friends to stay in for a night centred around the TV. Matt Collins, trading director at KP Snacks, says: "In the UK, we love to spend time socialising with others 91% say spending family time together is very important (Him data), and a great way to do that can be with a film or Netflix box set at home. Insights show us that 48% of consumers eat crisps, snacks and nuts when watching a film at home and 45% say snacks are a ’must have’ for an evening in with family and friends."

Of those snacks that are enjoyed in front of the TV, popcorn is one of the most popular. Butterkist is the nation’s favourite popcorn brand, is four times larger than its nearest branded competitor, and enjoys a market share of 33%, according to Nielsen data. An impressive 47% of all popcorn shoppers buy into Butterkist, with 41% of them going onto repeat buy (Kantar).

Both KP and PepsiCo point to research that shows that many UK consumers want to try new, more interesting and exciting flavours. KP’s response to this was the launch of McCoy’s Muchos which taps into the growing popularity of Mexican food.

McCoy’s Muchos are a corn, wheat and potato based crisp with a blend of six spices and beans locked into the base before being seasoned with full-on Mexican flavours. The three flavours are Smoky Chilli Chicken, Nacho Cheese and Sour Cream & Onion, available in a 180g sharing bag. Collins says the crisps have been incredibly well received by consumers and the brand is already worth £9.4m.

At PepsiCo, the company says the popularity of the BBQ Pulled Pork and Spicy Sriracha flavours in the Walkers core range proves that consumers want more exciting flavours. The company also points to the launch of Walkers Max Strong, which was developed in response to the rise in sharing occasions and to answer demand for a snack to complement a pint of beer.

Collins says stocking the right range is crucial to making the most of the Big Night In occasion, but it’s equally important to have the right promotions and displays in place to entice the shopper.

"Retailers can help encourage cross-category purchases by grouping products such as snack foods, bottles of wine and beer, as well as sharing bags of crisps and nuts. By making a few small changes and ensuring key SKUs are always visible, retailers might see some surprising results. "Dedicated fixtures and promotional offers that make shopping easy are a good way to drive impulse purchases according to Him, 51% of shoppers are more likely to visit their local store if they offer themed promotions eg Big Night In. And window posters and shelf barkers are great ways to catch the eye on the path to purchase and encourage impulse sales."

number one

However, there is more to a Big Night In than crisps, as Susan Nash, trade communications manager at Mondelz International, points out: "Chocolate is still the number one choice for those settling down for a night in with friends and loved ones, followed by sugar confectionery, biscuits and crisps so there are plenty of opportunities for cross-category selling to create the perfect night in. What’s more, 52% of all confectionery occasions take place with other people present, so having a range of premium sharing formats is key to maximising this opportunity and encouraging trade-up."

Dan Newell, fruity confections portfolio director at Mars Wrigley, adds: "With 47% of consumers spending less money on out-of-home entertainment and 50% eating out less, the Big Night In remains a key sales opportunity, as consumers are more conscious of their spending and look for better value.

"The rise in popularity of the Big Night In has proven that sharing packs play a key role in the confectionery market as consumers are opting for larger formats to share everyday treats in company. M&M’s Crispy Large Choc Bag is still one of the most popular sharing bags and has seen a 16.1% increase in value sales year-on-year proving to be the perfect sharing treat for all occasions. Meanwhile, Maltesers 100g is the fourth-largest boxed SKU in the category and has seen a huge 138.1% increase year-on-year in value sales."

new products

Maltesers Buttons are now available in a £1 price-marked treat bag. The chocolates give consumers a chocolate button with the Maltesers signature crunchy texture.
Mondelz has added £1 promotional price-marked packs to its chocolate bags range, helping retailers to improve price perception among their shoppers and drive Big Night In and other sharing occasion-based sales.
Doritos Collisions combine two bold flavours in one single bag. Thre are two varieties: Guacamole & Habanero Chilli and Honey Glazed Ribs & Lemon Blast. Both flavours come in a 162g pack (rrp £1.99) while the Guacamole & Habanero flavour is also available in a 72g bag (rrp £1).
McCoy’s Muchos are a double layered, folded tortilla snack with a light and crispy puffed texture which KP says combines full-on moreish flavour, texture and tortilla together in a new way.
Calbee UK says its Seabrook Fire Eaters range is a good example of a product with a strong flavour and quality ingredients which appeals to those with adventurous tastes. There are three varieties: Searin’ Hot (chilli & lemon); Scorchin’ Hot (Trinidad scorpion chilli); and Smokin’ hot (smokehouse cayenne).