Cotswold Fayre, the fine food distributor, has announced retailers’ top ambient product choices for Christmas 2017.

While preparation for Christmas has begun for most retailers and consumers, non-chilled Christmas sales at Cotswold Fayre have already been and gone and the company has revealed their most popular items.

Sales indicate three key trends: alcohol, in particular gin and vodka, is very much still in, with make your own kits proving popular and sales of gluten free products are also on the rise.

Paul Hargreaves, chief executive at Cotswold Fayre, said: “People don’t tend to sway too much from the traditional at Christmas, so all the usual festive treats have done well as expected, like chocolates, tinned biscuits and panettone. However, each year we do get a few surprises appearing in our top products including those from new suppliers. Often we find that what’s on trend at the time has an impact on Christmas, like we’ve seen with gin and other spirits this year.

“For us, the number one overall brand was Edinburgh Gin this Christmas, with three of its liqueurs in the top 12 best sellers. In fact, the product with the biggest increase in sales in 2017 compared to last year was Edinburgh Gin’s Rhubarb and Ginger Liqueur.”

Despite the popularity of gin and vodka, Cotswold Fayre’s best-selling product for Christmas 2017 was Braes o’ Gowrie’s Sparkling Elderflower non-alcoholic drink, for the second year running.

This year, the wholesaler introduced Plant ‘n’ Grow’s Proseccolicious Growing Kit, which jumped straight in to Cotswold Fayre’s top 40 selling ambient Christmas products, alongside Plant ‘n’ Grow’s Ginalicious Growing Kit, introduced in 2016.

Hargreaves added: “Our 2017 range of kits is by far our most varied yet, with Ross & Ross’ homemade bacon and salmon curing kits performing very well again. We’ve also seen Espresso Mushroom Company’s Kitchen Garden Mushroom making kits sell well for the third year in a row.”

Making up almost a quarter of total sales to date, Christmas is a key period for the Cotswold Fayre business, with an increase in the number of consumers buying gluten free impacting on festive sales.

“I was really surprised to see that sales of our gluten free mince pies are currently higher than sales of any of our traditional mince pies,” Hargreaves admitted. “Gordon Rhodes’ Gluten Free Gourmet Sage & Onion Stuffing Mix is also among the top ten best sellers overall.”