Christmas Food Ideas
Christmas means different things to different people, but one thing is for sure – the holiday season is synonymous with food! Are you ready to offer your customers all their traditional holiday favourites and a few interesting new options?
From picnics at the beach, a braai at the neighbours and formal Christmas dinners with the family, Christmas is the time of year when everyone can let go a little and indulge in all of their favourite food – and lots of it! With the convenience trend still strong, and many consumers looking forward to a well-deserved break after a particularly trying year, delis can offer great stress-free solutions for those looking to cater to friends and family over the holiday season.
Whether for family get-togethers, work parties or gatherings with friends, the deli counter can be the place for shoppers to get all of the goodies they need to serve up a great culinary treat, from the pre-holiday parties, to Christmas lunch, Boxing Day festivities and the New Year’s bash. The fact that Christmas shoppers are often stressed, time-poor and looking for easy but delicious ways to address the issue of catering for many over the holiday season, creates endless opportunities for delis. By offering an array of traditional and innovative options, you can ensure that your deli becomes the place to go for Christmas fare.
While fresh, uncooked produce such as sausages, chickens, turkeys and seafood are no doubt on the shopping lists for many customers, supplying pre-cooked and long-life products will offer convenient solutions for people catering for a picnic in the park, afternoon tea by the pool or a visit to the beach. At a time of year where people are ready to sit back and enjoy time with friends and family, convenience and quality are in the forefront of their minds.
Nothing says Christmas like smoked meats. Gammon, turkey and stuffed roast chicken are all sumptuous provisions for the festive season. And while a whole gammon, turkey or chicken is a suitable option for people putting on a big lunch with many guests, it’s cumbersome and impractical for popular summer events such as braais, picnics or visits to the beach, that the South African summer festive season lends itself to so well.
Offering smoked goods in pre-packed portions will allow your customers to enjoy this Christmas staple without the inconvenience of having to slice, wrap and find the means by which to transport it. Consider offering individual chicken or turkey pieces or perhaps half or quarter turkeys for an intimate Christmas lunch.
Go one better by offering hamper style vacuum packed smoked goods, sliced and ready to go with a variety of different ready-to-eat meats. Perhaps a pack with a serving of gammon, chicken and turkey? It will save customers buying a whole chicken, whole turkey and large portion of gammon, while still offering them the variety they desire. With many still watching their budgets, vacuum packed, individual servings of gammon, smoked turkey or chicken are a great way for people to avoid the waste so often associated with Christmas.
If your customers are catering to the masses and require whole animals or large portions, why not offer a service of cutting and slicing, and managing portions, providing even more convenience to customers?
Don’t forget about cross-merchandising – offering items that go hand in hand – to maximise sales. For example, no cooked turkey would be complete without stuffing, so make sure it is right there on the counter ready to go when your customer comes to pick up the main attraction for their Christmas banquet. Similarly, gammon needs a glaze, as well as cherries or pineapple rings.
Why limit your sales to just the meat and fresh food side of Christmas fare, when there is no better time to capitalise on the need for nibbles? Dips, pastes and spreads all make up a huge part of holiday eating and could add significantly to your holiday sales. Pates are also an all time favourite, suitable for a quick snack or a sumptuous starter.
Platters are popular amongst people doing the rounds, attending picnics or having guests over. Offering a range of prepared platters that are ready to go is an ideal way to help those busy customers looking to contribute something to that holiday gathering without the time required to assemble it. In addition to various meats, platters can include any number of cheeses, olives, sun dried tomatoes, nuts, roasted or stuffed capsicum, marinated eggplant, crackers, marinated mushrooms, dried fruit, dips, tapenade and pates. Fruit pastes such as quince are a tasty accompaniment to cheeses and will look great on the counter. Why not try something really different and add a little heat to your platters with wasabi peas, chickpeas or soya beans? Or add some Peppadews for a truly South African bite.
Chutneys, relishes and sauces are an important addition to any meal and add variety to traditional Christmas fare – there is nothing like a turkey sandwich with relish.
Pre-prepared salads such as coleslaw, garden, potato or pasta will have your customers breathing a sigh of relief when they realise they won’t have to gather a stack of ingredients and cut, cook and make them for the neighbours’ braai.
What about offering your customers some new experiences? Dukkah, a crumbly dry blend of nuts, seeds, spices and chickpeas, is an Egyptian snack, eaten by first dipping flat or turkish bread into good quality olive oil then into the mix or alternatively rolling cheese in it. It is fast becoming a staple on nibbles and tapas style menus all over the world. Jars of dukkah, along with bottles of good quality olive oil and just the right freshly baked bread, will add something a little different to the deli counter, and bring an exotic feel to any meal or festivity.
Supplying great meal ideas, the fresh, specialised ingredients required and a few helpful suggestions or recipes can be a great way to bump up sales and win customers over. Speciality aspic dishes (ingredients set into a gelatin made from a meat stock or consommé) are a great option as there are many kinds that can be made from a number of ingredients you are most likely already supplying.
No Christmas meal would be complete without dessert. Desserts such as plum puddings, fruit cake and fruit mince pies make for great displays on the counter top and no doubt, customers will be tempted to grab one or two whilst picking up their other supplies.
Whether your customers are catering for a five-course dinner or simply want to have some snacks ready for impromptu guests, you can offer solutions for every possible event your customers are attending or hosting over the holidays. With great counter displays and an extensive product range, you can take advantage of the festive spirit and consumers’ willingness to be more indulgent by becoming a one-stop-shop for everyone’s Christmas fare.
Happy festive season eating.