April was a bumper month for food and drink occasions and with it, the emergence of a few new trends. Cast your mind back as we dive into the good, the bad and the ugly, including a Southern Fried Easter egg and a whole host of Hot Cross Bun flavours.
Faux Product Launches Dominate April Fools Day
April Fools Day sees an array of false product launches each year – and 2023 was no different. From the highs to the lows, April was awash with faux launches, strategies and announcements.
It’s a fine line with April Fool’s Day launches – between making a product almost believable yet achieving maximum comedic benefit! This year, Kit Kat managed to pull off an April Fool’s Day joke that did seem believable (if not so believable, it’s sad). Kit Kat announced it would be changing its tagline to ‘Take Five’ and introducing an extra finger to its bars. Unfortunately, this was false, but still a good and engaging way of interacting with April Fool’s Day.
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Another inventive product launch came at the hands of Bel UK with an update to the iconic Babybel. Paired with some consumer research that highlighted how the existing round Babybel shape was deemed ‘too fun’, the launch of a square Babybel was announced to target a more mature demographic. Simple, yet effective when paired with research and some photoshop.
However, it’s not that easy to be a comedian on April Fool’s Day – for every joke that does well, 5 more fall flat. It’s all about finding the balance between believable and out of the box – which isn’t easy to do.
Over the last few years, social media has been saturated with April Fool’s Day jokes, including many false product launches and stunts – so much so that now it may be passed it’s best. In a world saturated with news, and particularly fake news – is April Fool’s Day dying a death on social media? It will be interesting to see how it continues over the next few years.
Google trends data shows that searches for ‘April Fools’ Day’ has been declining over time – ever since 2015 when searches peaked.
Easter Sees an Array of Weird and Wonderful Products
As with any holiday, Easter saw a range of weird and wonderful food and drink product launches. It only feels right to start with the star of the show – Easter Eggs.
Of course, like everything, Easter Eggs only get bigger and better every year and this year was no different – with gourmet Easter Eggs available in supermarkets across the country, in addition to the humble classics.
However, it’s not these chocolate treats we’re focusing on in this report. Instead, we’re focusing our attention on the strangest Easter eggs to grace our newsfeeds.
The first on our radar – Deliveroo’s Southern Fried Chocolate Easter Egg. This one feels like an April Fools’ joke in itself, but instead it was an Easter campaign. Launched the day before Good Friday, the egg wasn’t an Easter Egg shaped Chicken Fillet as you may initially think, it was in fact a chocolate egg, covered in a Southern Fried crispy coating. Available only on Deliveroo – this is one egg we’re not sold on, but it certainly hit the headlines!
Along similar savoury lines, Frankie & Benny’s revealed a meatball Easter egg. However, unlike Deliveroo who combined the sweet and the savoury, this ‘egg’ was purely chocolate and designed to mimic a giant meatball.
Really narrowing in on the Savoury Easter egg was Morrisons, with two cheesy Easter Eggs. The egg (or, rather half an egg) is made from soft cheese and could be the perfect alternative for those who prefer savoury to sweet – however, it’s definitely still more of a novelty item.
Whatever your personal taste buds think of these weird and wonderful Easter creations, one thing is for sure – it got people talking!
The Easter creativity doesn’t end there…
Hot Cross Buns really rivalled Easter eggs in 2023 when it came to new product launches and developments. From sweet to savoury, whatever your budget, there was a new Hot Cross Bun on the market to try.
Starting strong, M&S had a variety of different Hot Cross Bun options from the sweet options of Banoffee to a savoury ‘Extremely Cheesy’ option. Following suit, other supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s and Waitrose offered different options – including Cheese, Tomato & Oregano, West Country Mature Cheddar & Stout and White Chocolate & Lemon.
Aldi and Lidl also took part in the Hot Cross Bun surge – with Aldi offering their take on the classic with Jaffa flavour, as well as Caramelised Biscuit Flavour.
Dining Habits Change Amid Cost of Living Crisis
The cost of living crisis is having a massive impact on various different areas of our lives. Whilst constraints around the cost of energy may be starting to ease, food prices are continuing to rise. Alongside this rise, we are seeing people change their dining habits.
The overall squeeze that the cost of living has caused has definitely impacted how people live their lives. This month the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reported that sales of home furniture rose sharply the previous month, helping total retail sales increase by 5.1%.
It was reported that this increase in the sales of home furnishings and accessories has been largely driven by people choosing to entertain at home as a way of cutting costs.
Back at the end of 2022, we predicted that in 2023 we would see an increase in the amount of people choosing to stay in over dining out. Driven by a desire to save money but also by people really valuing quality time with friends and family, as well as the quality of food enjoyed over heading to a fancy restaurant or bar.
With the increase in people cooking and entertaining at home, consumers will be actively looking for easy at home recipes and appliances they can use to create high-quality meals in their own home. The focus should be on low-cost recipes, that are easy to make whilst entertaining – as we all know you don’t want to spend all night in the kitchen if you’re hosting!
Over on TikTok, the dining in trend has seen a lot of traction – with trends such as #bringaboard night being big over Christmas and into New Year. This trend is a great way to save money, and enjoy the company of loved ones.
To find out more about how your brand can tap into the latest trends, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org