Euro 2008: Score with your food choices

Related tags Alcoholic beverage Ploughman's lunch Mccain foodservice

IT'S NO secret that driving trade during this summer's Euro 2008 football tournament will be a challenge for the pub market, sidelined as it is by...

IT'S NO secret that driving trade during this summer's Euro 2008 football tournament will be a challenge for the pub market, sidelined as it is by the metaphorical hamstring injury of the failure of the home nations to qualify.

Even so, there is undoubtedly an opportunity for those pubs willing to invest time and thought into making the tournament work for their business. Food is often neglected during big-screen sport occasions - why distract staff from the serious business of pouring pints by asking them to knock up a ploughman's?

Given that pubs may have to work a little harder to generate the same interest in an Austria vs Croatia match on a Tuesday evening as they might get for a Sunday afternoon Premiership clash, food might just come into its own.

Martin Lines, marketing director of Nestlé Professional, says: "With 29 games lined up between June 7 and 29, including the semis and the final, each football match offers pubs a unique profit opportunity."

The company is backing its Herta hot dog brand as the answer for pubs looking to add a food dimension during the tournament. Support includes free Herta point-of-sale kits, A3 promotional posters for the bar, tent cards for tables, branded napkins and trays which can be used to sell hot dogs around the pub in the run-up to games and during half-time.

Snack and sharing options are ideal for sporting occasions, allowing groups to graze while watching the match. The recently launched McCain Signatures Starters & Sides range allows pubs to assemble sharing platters or offer the products with dips.

The 11 products in the range are only available to the foodservice market, helping to add value for pubs. They include potato scoops and beer-battered onion scoops, both ideal for serving with dips. Other products include beer-battered lattice fries and chilli pepper and cheese nuggets.Adrian Greaves, associate director of McCain Foodservice, says: "The range has been developed after extensive research into how pubs can harness the potential of the snack market to drive profits."

Pubs should also consider offering special menus throughout the tournament - a great meal and a cold beer at the pub being a much more civilised option than a supermarket four-pack and microwaved meal.

To help meet consumer interest in more adventurous dishes, Knorr has launched its Essential Seven campaign, featuring seven core sauces linked to a range of 49 recipes.

This should be more than enough to maintain menu variety right through the tournament, with recipes including spaghetti bolognese, lasagne, curries, barbecue ribs and stir-fries.

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