Outback sets out strategy for barbecue market

Holidays at home, the attractions of alfresco dining, tight leisure budgets and three new products should "add some heat to the UK market in 2012", premium barbecue supplier Outback has predicted for the year ahead.

"While hard economic conditions will continue, consumers will get the most out of their garden and patio - lighting up the barbecue for a family meal or party for friends is an obvious leisure choice," said chief executive Mark Osborne.

New to the 2012 range is the Plancha flat-top cast-iron plate barbecue. This style of cooking was traditionally used in France, Spain and South America and was highlighted by top chef Rick Stein in a BBC TV series last year.

Also new is the Comet Sear barbecue, which includes a ceramic side grill producing twice the heat of a conventional gas burner, and the five-burner Commercial.

"Last year's early summer sun helped our barbecues sell in record numbers and three new products are aimed at increasing the popularity of our established range," added Osborne.

"We finished last season about eight per cent above the previous year mainly due to strong early sales boosted by good weather, a late Easter and the royal wedding."

But he warned: "I would expect this season to be flat in terms of growth. Buyers are being much more cautious, plus there is a level of carry over stock from 2011."

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