Is the Sunday Roast really under threat?

A recent Good Food Nation survey highlighted that some of the UK’s most beloved customs and traditions could be under threat due to the cost-of-living crisis. Rising gas and electricity costs means that consumers are having to adapt their approach to cooking to save costs:

  • 23% say they use the oven and hob less, with 18% saying they no longer switch it on at all
  • 21% use a microwave more
  • 20% report not baking as many cakes or biscuits, and
  • 26% claim they are less likely to cook a Sunday roast! 

But why should we care? The world moves on all the time, right?

True, but we’re also living in a mental health crisis. In 2020, the global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25% (World Health Organisation) and according to Mind, one in four people in England will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year. So surely now it’s more important than ever to come together to spend quality time with our families?

The Sunday Roast is often the one time of the week when we can get together without distractions – a time to switch off from tech and to reconnect with each other. Those simple pleasures and old family traditions shouldn’t be under-rated for our mental health, as the element of nostalgia and ‘what mum or granny used to make’ is just so good for the soul. And with the first ‘proper’ Christmas post-Covid fast approaching, are we really in danger of pushing these traditions aside?

So, what does this mean for brands?

There are some brands that are inherently associated with the roast dinner and the British psyche – Aunt Bessie’s, Paxo, Bisto, etc. It’s now on them to look at how they could adapt to remain a key part of the nation’s dinner plate, otherwise the competition will get there first. In fact, just last month Gousto announced the launch of its ‘oven-less’ Sunday Roast. 

At Storm we believe there are three ways they could do this:

1. Be irreplaceable – How can your existing products be modified so that they remain on the UK’s shopping lists? Can roasties really be anything other than roasted? Can Yorkshire Puddings be added to the ever-growing list of foods you can cook in an air-fryer?

2. Go beyond – Where can your brand stretch to offer consumers what they want/need now? What other eating occasions would be right for your existing products? How can you help your consumers with their weekly shopping dilemma? 

The same Good Food Nation survey highlighted that meal planning and batch cooking were two of the most popular ways people felt they could control costs, and as many as much as 64% said they are cutting back on food waste in order to save money. Can you suggest ways to batch cook and/or use leftovers to save time and money, as well as avoid food waste?

3. Become unforgettable – How can you communicate all this in a fresh and relevant way? Can you tap into that feeling of nostalgia? Can you reinvent the Sunday dinner occasion for GenZ who may be more into the weekend brunch?

Whichever route you go down, brands that stay on the front foot and adapt will reap the benefits. As a massive foodie I love nothing more than cooking a roast, and I think this is one British tradition that should be saved at all costs! 

By Ellie Croft, Client Director at StormBrands

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