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Two thirds of consumers celebrating Valentine’s Day this year will do so by getting food and drink from the out-of-home sector, new insights from CGA show—a reminder of the occasion’s value to venues even if they can’t welcome guests in.

Research for CGA’s Celebrating Valentine’s at Home report reveals that more than a third (36%) of consumers have already decided to celebrate the day at home. Two thirds (69%) of them plan to get food and drink from restaurants, pubs or bars—and with more than a fortnight to go until the day, one in eight (14%) has already booked in their order.

CGA’s report uncovers significant opportunities for food and drink suppliers and operators to generate sales around Valentine’s Day trends, including:

  • Drinks. One in five (20%) consumers celebrating Valentine’s Day plans to buy takeaway or delivery alcohol—and a third (33%) of those say they would consider doing so directly from a bar, restaurant or takeaway venue.
  • Trade-ups. With consumers in the mood to treat themselves, there is a great chance to heighten spend. More than half (58%) of those who plan to celebrate say they will treat themselves to more expensive food than they usually have at home, and 44% will buy more expensive drinks and drinks brands than usual.
  • Meal kits and experiences. One in eight (13%) consumers plans to buy ‘make at home’ meal kits from venues—a sign of the growing popularity of restaurant quality food at home. There is also strong demand for experiential treats that can be used in the future: around half of consumers find the idea of giving activities like cocktail masterclasses appealing.

As well as showing the need for food and drink suppliers to plan in advance for Valentine’s Day, CGA’s research shows there is still time to encourage spending from the fifth (22%) of all consumers who aren’t yet sure whether they will celebrate the occasion. There is also likely to be a release of pent-up demand for romantic occasions after the end of lockdown, as more than a third (37%) of those marking Valentine’s Day say they are likely to have belated celebrations in a pub, bar or restaurant when they reopen.

CGA’s consumer research manager Jessica Walsh says: “Eating and drinking out is an integral part of Valentine’s Day, but it’s clear that lockdown won’t dampen people’s enthusiasm. While restaurants, pubs and bars can’t welcome people inside, they can still win the spend of celebrating couples via deliveries and takeaways.

This is a golden opportunity to capture share of at-home eating from supermarkets and other retailers, and suppliers have a crucial role to play in understanding what consumers want and supporting strategies.”

The Celebrating Valentine’s at Home report also sets out important trends in drinks categories for suppliers and operators to track in the run-up to Valentine’s Day, including:

  • Wine is likely to be the big category winner on Valentine’s Day, with two thirds (67%) of those celebrating the occasion planning to drink it.
  • Cocktails could be a major growth market this year. Two in five (41%) consumers find the idea of buying pre-made cocktails alongside takeaway or delivered food appealing.
  • Experimentation in drinks will increase, with one in three planning to try different categories and brands to their usual at-home choices.

CGA’s On Premise Measurement data emphasises the value of Valentine’s Day to the drinks market. The 2020 event saw a 37% uplift in sales compared to an average day, with cocktails (up 96%) and wine and champagne (up 50%) benefiting as consumers sought out special drinks.

Jessica Walsh says: “Consumers have been really missing the drinks they enjoy in the On Premise - especially serves like cocktails that aren’t so easily achieved at home. Suppliers and operators can help them replicate these experiences during lockdown, and capitalise on the growing appetite for ordering drinks to pair with takeaway and delivered food. It’s also a good time to be encouraging drinkers to try new brands and categories and position them to retain spend once the market reopens.”

The Celebrating Valentine’s at Home report is part of CGA’s exclusive 2021 Hospitality Consumer Forecast series. Drawing on a nationally representative sample of 500 GB consumers, the report explores consumer plans and sentiment towards Valentine’s Day 2021, and is complemented by volumetric and category data from CGA’s On Premise Measurement service. To learn more about the report, click hereor contact charlie.mitchell@cga.co.uk

     

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