SOMEBODY might want to check if there’s something in the flat whites at Coles’ Melbourne headquarters because the supermarket has come up with some seriously weird new products.
But despite the textbook disaster that was the launch of Vegemite iSnack 2.0, the retailer is unfazed and has said customers can’t get enough of “creative and innovative” food ideas.
On Wednesday, celebrity chef and Coles spokesman Curtis Stone launched the store’s 2018 Christmas range in Sydney’s inner west.
In the $10 billion battle for our yuletide spending, the supermarket is keen to entice us in with its new ham topped with crispy crackling, lime and chilli flavoured prawns and Christmas pudding ice cream. So far, so normal.
But there are some real festive food head-scratchers it wants us to warm to including “brocoslaw”, prosecco-infused paté and even a Christmas wreath made entirely of sausage rolls.
That’s right, a meat Christmas wreath. So just the like the ones you put on the front door to spread a bit of seasonal joy but with the pine cones replaced with beef mince, ham, roast vegies and cranberries wrapped inside crispy pastry.
The edible wreath was developed by former MasterChef contestant Michael Weldon who has found a new role as Coles’ development chef. He said he came up with the idea of creating something novel that people could put in the centre of their festive table.
“Christmas is a time for fun, and that’s what the sausage roll wreath is all about. For me it invokes a lot of childhood memories, and all you need to top it off is a bowl of tomato sauce.”
The wreath will be available in stores from late November.
And who knew coleslaw needed a makeover? Well it’s happened with “brocoslaw” which is a combination of broccoli, kale and cranberries alongside the usual coleslaw ingredients plus a dressing.
The global march of prosecco continues and has now made the jump from liquor store to supermarket and into the store’s Finest branded paté. Not into bubbles? Well go for the paté with gin instead.
“Brandy is a flavour usually associated with paté, but over the summer months we know Aussies like something a little more colourful, bubbly and exciting so we thought we’d introduce prosecco. It’s lovely and light, and the flavour profile of prosecco matches perfectly with paté,” Mr Weldon said.
Coles chief operating officer Greg Davis said people were a bit more daring during the holidays.
“Our Christmas range is a great example of how we are expanding and creating innovative products that customers can’t get anywhere else.”
It may be only October, but prepare yourself for the Christmas food onslaught. Coles said it expected to sell more than 10 million mangoes this yuletide as well as an ocean load of prawns, with 70 per cent of all the crustaceans sold annually scooped up in the three days leading up to Christmas Day.
Last year, the retailer’s Finest butterscotch and gingerbread pudding was the big hitter. It’s coming back this year, but the supermarket chain is hoping a Christmas pudding flavoured ice-cream and a luxury toffee apple wreath pudding will be equally as popular as Australians throw the pedometer out of the window and sink into a festive vat of calorific indulgence.
Coles needs a very profitable Christmas as it will be its first for over a decade as an independent company. Bought by Wesfarmers in 2007, the Western Australian conglomerate is set to float Australia’s second largest supermarket on the stockmarket in November, raising as much as $10 billion.
$10 BILLION BATTLE
Christmas is critical time for retailers, and supermarkets are no exception. Market researchers IBISWorld estimated consumers put $10 billion through the registers of food shops in 2017, a 2.5 per cent increase on the previous year.
Consumer spending is around 35 per cent stronger during the festive period, according to IBISWorld, with Woolies, Coles and Aldi fighting a cutthroat battle to persuade shoppers to step into their store to buy their puds and prawns.
However food shopping, like any retail sector, is prone to the peaks and troughs of consumer confidence. If there are less pennies in people’s pockets they may be less inclined to reach for the paté with prosecco.
To be fair, a wreath fashioned from a sausage roll may be the most Australian Christmas food ever though. Just don’t accidentally put it on the front door or the possums will think it’s a present just for them.