What’s in a jam? Certainly not savoury spreads and their sweet counterparts! In fact, they’re flying off supermarket shelves. Read the Co-operative Food’s guide to using jams and chutneys at Christmas and its statistics on the continuing popularity of these traditional fruit-based accompaniments.
As Christmas nears and our thoughts turn to stocking our cupboards with festive fare, we’re all looking for ways to make this time of year extra special. With food often the answer, and homemade and traditional options increasingly embraced, we shine a light on the British love affair with chutneys and jams…
Brits love a good jam
We’re a nation that loves a good spread, in more ways than one! There are a number of sweet spreads available on supermarket shelves, including chocolate spreads and honey, but jam is consistently popular, and according to reaearch by Mintel, enjoyed by 63 per cent of Brits. More than two thirds of us also buy savoury spreads, proving that we’re a country that loves conserves!
Bakes and cocktails
With the current enthusiasm for baking showing no signs of abating, jams and marmalades can also be used in homemade cakes and bakes for delicious treats you can serve up to guests. Cocktails, too, can benefit from the preserve treatment – marmalade can make an excellent addition to certain whisky cocktails.
Inventive uses for preserves
The Mintel research shows that we’re keen to discover new ways to use jams and chutneys, beyond the usual spread-on-toast breakfast options or add-to-a-sandwich-at-lunchtime usages.
Don’t just automatically reach for the sliced loaf when making a sarnie. Bagels, thins and wraps all make good partners for either jam or a savoury chutney. For snacks, you could also look to our range of biscuits and crackers but don’t forget that a chutney can make an excellent duo with a pâté starter on Christmas Day. Look for unusual creations and inspired flavour combinations for a special twist – or try making your own. When storing preserves, always make sure they’re in an airtight container, and keep them in a cool, dry place.
Trends and preferences
Own label chutneys have been growing in popularity in recent years – this year market wide sales amounted to £26.53 million* – up on last year’s sales by five per cent, while the biggest branded player in the market saw sales fall. People love onion and tomato varieties, it seems – both of which account for the lion’s share of the market. Red onion varieties in particular have risen steeply in popularity over the last year with more than a 46 per cent increase. But there’s also been strong growth in plum, Ploughman’s and chilli varieties.
The vast majority of people eat chutney on planned occasions and it’s most popularly used in sandwiches with ham, salami or cheese fillings. Areas where usage is growing include curries and pâté dishes – but also as a topping for beef burgers. The rise in popularity of gourmet burgers seems to have sparked enthusiasm for experimenting with flavours. Traditionally enjoyed by older consumers, chutneys are beginning to attract younger consumers to their considerable charms.
Try experimenting yourself with chutney and jam varieties you haven’t used before – and think beyond tradition when it comes to what you pair them with, or use them on. Christmas is a great time of year to go all out – so don’t hold back! We stock a varied selection to inspire you.
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* Figures according to Nielsen ScanTrack 52WE 30/08/2014 - Brand Value Sales MAT 2013 VS 2014