Evening snacking is a massive market, worth £6.5bn to retailers and growing, according to Kantar data. Included in this is, of course, the ’big night in’, and when you look at other stats available, you can see why it’s such a big deal. According to Mintel, 78% of consumers spend most of their leisure time at home and 64% of cinema-goers watch more films at home than they used to two years ago. What these people choose to eat while watching these films is no great surprise according to Kantar, it’s chocolate, then sugar confectionery, and then crisps.

"The big night in is creating a number of big opportunities for snack sharing occasions and there is a huge opportunity for retailers to get involved," says Matt Collins, sales director for convenience, wholesale, discounters and foodservice at KP Snacks. "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."

Collins says forecourt retailers can encourage snacks sales by making small changes in-store to ensure key SKUs are always visible. Dedicated fixtures and promotional offers that make shopping easy are a good way to drive impulse purchases, he advises. And according to Him data, 51% of shoppers say they would be more likely to visit their local store if they offered themed promotions such as for a Big Night In.

James Thomas, customer marketing director at pladis UK and Ireland, agrees: "A well- merchandised big night in display with paired products and cross-category promotions will always encourage incremental purchases and help drive up profits. Locating this in high-footfall areas at the front of store will help draw shoppers’ attention to the fixture, increasing impulse sales. The appearance of a display is often underestimated in terms of the influence it has on shopper purchasing decisions."

Thomas adds that making big night in features attractive and easy to spot will have a positive impact, not only on the sales of products included, but also on other categories, as shoppers are shown to spend more time in-store as a result.

"Shoppers want themed space and signage, so offering secondary sightings, for example at point of sale, and eye-catching shippers can also significantly boost retailers’ sales."

When targeting the big night in trend, large sharing bags and multipack products are most popular with shoppers.

"We would advise spotlighting these to customers by positioning them close to point of sale and alongside complementary categories such as dips and drinks," explains Thomas.

He points to Jacob’s Cracker Crisps Thins, which were launched last year to target the fast-growing evening sharing occasion. "Jacob’s Cracker Crisps Thins are worth £11.3m (Nielsen) and consumers are choosing this brand on a regular basis as part of their repertoire, demonstrated by a strong repeat rate at 31% (Kantar), higher than its closest competitor. This product is therefore a big night in must-stock."

As for chocolate, Mondelez reports that tablets (or bars) play a big role in the big night in think Cadbury Dairy Milk and all its varieties as well as chocolate bags such as Cadbury Dairy Milk Giant Buttons, Twirl Bites and Bitsa Wispa. These are all available in £1 price-marked packs, making them even more attractive to consumers.

At the time of their launch earlier this year, Chris Campbell, brand manager for Cadbury Bitesize at Mondelez, said: "Bags from Cadbury account for four of the top 10 best-selling chocolate bags and with these new bags, we’re able to deliver more value while giving shoppers the reassurance of clear pricing in store, so we believe these new packs will help retailers drive sales in the fast-growing chocolate bags segment."

Another ’must-stock’ line is Butterkist, which remains the nation’s favourite popcorn brand with a 33% market share, worth £43.5m. This makes it three times larger than its nearest competitor. Some 56% of all popcorn shoppers buy into Butterkist, with 45% of these making repeat purchases.

Finally, ice cream is a popular line for a big night in and research carried out by Mars Ice Cream has revealed that one in three people always keep ice cream at home for impromptu entertaining second only to crisps, nuts, dips and cheese. Sixty-eight per cent of people opt for ice cream sharing tubs, with one in three (36%) preferring to serve ice cream on a stick and one in five (22%) an ice cream bar.

Ice cream tubs are now worth £504m, up 8.9% year-on-year, and representing 42% of all ice cream sales (IRI data). Wrapped handheld ice creams are worth £711m, 58% of the category, up 18.6% year-on-year.

latest lines

New £1 95g price-marked packs are now available across some of Mondelez’s best-selling bags including Cadbury Dairy Milk Giant Buttons, Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel Nibbles, Cadbury Twirl Bites, Cadbury Bitsa Wispa and Terry’s Chocolate Orange Minis.
Vimto is now bought by one in four households nationally. Vimto and Vimto Remix are available in various formats including 2ltr fizzy variants for a family big night in.
Initially available in Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate variants, Flipz chocolate covered pretzels are now available in a limited-edition White Fudge flavour. The 100g pouches have an rrp of £1.50.
BBQ Beef is the best- selling variety in the Big Hoops range. Other flavours in the £1 price-marked pack range are Salted and Chilli. The snacks are now available in larger, 16-count outers.
The Mars ice cream tub contains dairy ice cream with smooth caramel and crunchy chocolaty pieces. Also available is the Snickers ice cream tub, which combines roasted peanuts, smooth caramel and chocolate with ice cream.
AG Barr recommends that sharing-sized bottles be dual-sited with other big night in essentials to create an eye-catching display.