Insight

It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas

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It is scary to think that we have not even celebrated Halloween or Bonfire night yet and our thoughts, and what is appearing on the supermarket shelves, is all about Christmas.  The annual inspiration that goes into festive food and drink is incredible and we hope that we are able to channel some of the inspiration when thinking about what to buy for Aunt Mavis this year.

It’s party (food) time!

With Christmas being a time for giving, it is no wonder that shareable formats feature heavily across the supermarket retailers ranges.  Waitrose Chocolate, caramel and vanilla choux wreath is “an éclair to share”.  Asda party food is all about novelty with the mini pub classics – think bite-sized cheeseburgers and mini fish & chips.  Booths supermarket (found in the north west of England) bakery department is going big on sweet treats, particularly in shareable formats such as their Belgian chocolate brownie and blondie Christmas trees and amaretti tiffin bites.  We wonder if they have heard this one yet – who hides in the bakery at Christmas? A mince spy! 

Colour 

The visual appeal of what is normally beige looking party food is being enhanced with colour this year.  Vegetable inclusions in party food also provide the subtle health cues that people are looking for. 

No matter where you see it, gold brings quality & indulgence to mind and looking at the supermarkets’ festive dessert ranges there is a sea of it out there.  Aldi’s mulled morello cherry pudding has a gold lustre finish, and it also has a golden topped wreath pudding and golden twist sticky toffee pudding to tempt us this year. 

Booze

Booze continues to make a splash this Christmas with gin in particular featuring in many of the dessert options.  Asda has a pink gin cream which should really be paired with its sloe gin mince pies (so the mince spy tells us) or its extra special Gin-gerbread roulade. 

Flavour

Salted caramel has dominated for a while and this year it is being pushed further.  The Co-Op features a spiced version in its roulade as well as shortbread.  But fear not the classic variety has not disappeared as can be seen across the majority of the retailer’s ranges, such as Lidl’s deluxe large salted caramel cheesecake.  For a traditional festive dessert with a twist, you can add salted caramel into your Christmas pudding, which of course must be paired with Macphie Brandy Sauce. 

Santa’s little helpers have been busy 

Asda recently revealed an elf ice cream for Christmas; bright red and green with the flavours of raspberry and candyfloss, and sprinkled with multicoloured candy cane sugar pieces.  We wonder if that will feature in the seasonal elf on the shelf photos this year. 

New flavours 

Waitrose has developed a new signature flavour – plum, ginger & honey.  It features across both the sweet and savoury range – within the plum, spiced ginger & honey mince pies as well as on a glaze on several of its meat mains such as the baconwrapped turkey breast and cured gammon. 

Vegan 

It seems that all retailers have invested in the vegan trend and increased the offering in their range this year.  Asda has extended its range introducing vegan rainbow vegetable filo tarts and festive vegan wellington. Waitrose has been working on new product development and now offers a full vegan Christmas dinner.  And Tesco has expanded its range including the addition of a butternut squash, mushroom and chestnut wreath. 

Nostalgia

Fortnum & Mason’s mini musical tin harks to days gone by – from the visual design of the tin of the spinning merry go round, to the audio (Jingle Bells of course) to the taste of the chocolate and caramel shortbread – it is no wonder they recommend it as an ideal gift. 

Nostalgia always makes us think of wagon wheels with its mallowy centre.  Macphie Mallow provides a perfect addition to create festive smores doughnuts, Christmas snowballs, holly decorated teacakes, Christmas pudding cupcake fillings, Rudolph mallow muffins, baked meringue, snowmen cupcakes and much more.  The fact that it is ready to use, pipeable, is freezethaw suitable, withstands a blow torch and loves a chocolate coating makes it even better at what can be a very busy time of year. 

Sandwiches

With around 11.5billion sandwiches a year eaten in the UK we wonder how many of those are the Christmas varieties which will soon be hitting the shelves.  According to Warburtons, 71% of Brits will eat up to 11 sandwiches over the Christmas period and 37% will get excited when they see them on sale. 

Sprouts  

Love ‘em or hate ‘em you may not believe that a brussel sprout flavoured gin has just been launched by Edinburghbased Pickering’s Gin.  We suppose if you run out of ice cubes a frozen brussel sprout would do just the trick. 

Here are some Christmas recipes, because it is the time of year to share:

And some ideas to keep cosy till the weather changes back:

You can find many more recipes on our recipe page. 

Please note at the time of publication not all retailers have their Christmas range available to purchase. 

Sources:  British Sandwich Association BakeryInfo.co.uk | The Grocer 

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