Tour of Britain: Snacks for spectators

Starting in Edinburgh and finishing in Cardiff, Britain’s premier men’s cycling race, Tour of Britain, runs from 3 to 10 September, and it promises much in the way of gruelling physical challenges and daring manoeuvres.

It’s an opportunity for professional teams and riders from across the globe to come to the UK and compete through the race’s eight stages.

The Tour of Britain is part of the UCI Europe Tour, which lasts the duration of the cycling season, beginning in January and ending in October. It’s a combination of stages and single-day races.

This is free, spectator-sport at its most accessible, as the racers on the Tour of Britain pass through many villages and towns along the different stages of the route.

As a wholesale supplier of drinks and snacks in Bury, we’ve got customers and suppliers further afield, along the route, on hand to provide sustenance and refreshments to the thousands turning out to watch this amazing sporting event.

Origins and History of the Tour

During the Second World War, a dispute between members of the Nationalist Cyclists’ Union led to the formation of the breakaway British Legion of Racing Cyclists (BLRC). This group wanted to create a British version of the Tour de France as a major racing event.

Image of spectators at a Tour of Britain cycling event

It organised the first British multi-day stage event in Kent in August 1944, known as the Southern Grand Prix. Inspired by this success, the BLRC held a much bigger race to celebrate the end of the war in 1945, the Victory Cycling Marathon.

It had five stages and ran from Brighton to Glasgow. A Frenchman, Robert Batot, won it. The race was popular with spectators, with some 20,000 people officially recorded as being there to watch the start, though some observers claim there was more like three or four times this number.

While it was something of a messy affair, it did establish the concept of what would eventually become the Tour of Britain.

Subsequent races attracted sponsors, including the Sporting Record newspaper in 1950 and the Daily Express in 1951,

In 1958, the Milk Marketing Board took up sponsorship, leading to the race being known as the Milk Race, which lasted until 1993.

Overlapping with this was the Kellogg’s Tour, between 1987 and 1994, followed by the short-lived Prudential-sponsored PruTour.

There was then a five-year break. The contemporary version Tour of Britain dates from 2004, as part of the UCI Europe Tour. It started as five stages and increased to the current eight in 2008.

Snacks and drinks for Tour of Britain spectators

This year, the route of the Tour of Britain went through through Lincolnshire in stage three and Yorkshire in stage four, where many of our lovely wholesale customers are based in cafes and shops.Cyclists at the Tour of Britain for WDS Group

Spectators lined the route, often camping out for the day, waiting to catch a glimpse of the cyclist on their way through.

Fortunately, our customers were fully prepared for the tour and had everything on hand that the spectators needed and wanted.

Many spectators brought their own picnic and could be spotted tucking into sandwiches and pots of pasta. That’s when our disposable cutlery and picnic range really came in handy.

Our napkins were perfect for cleaning tomato smeared faces and wiping greasy hands on as the cyclists span past. The wooden cutlery was also a big hit for the environmentally conscious.

For those who were buying their snacks and drinks on the day, our customers had plenty of crisps, cakes and muffins to keep people energised for all that cheering. Plus, our soft drinks went down a storm.

Preparing your business for a sporting event

If a major sporting event is coming to your town, make sure your café or shop is fully prepared for the (hopefully) deluge of hungry and thirsty customers.

But what exactly should you stock?

If spectators are standing in the cold or rain (it is Britain, after all!), plenty of tea, coffee, and hot chocolate is a must. Make sure that not only are you stocked up on the basics, but don’t forget cups, lids and stirrers. You don’t want to have loads of coffee and nothing left to put it in!

If it looks like it will be a warm day, chilled bottled water and refreshing soda drinks will fly off the shelves, as people try to keep cool. Plus, if you have the facilities for it, ice cream is always a winner.

Green ice cream with cone and crowd in background

Many spectators will bring along their children, so ensure you have plenty of kid friendly drinks, such as fruit juice and squash, as well as snacks suitable for little ones. Parents these days are prone to choosing snacks that are lower in salt and sugar, so consider carefully what you stock. Having said that, pick ‘n’ mix always goes down a storm!

Choose to stock snacks that can easily go into handbags and rucksacks without spilling or getting squashed. Crisps, nuts, and flapjacks are always a safe bet as they can be easily shared, and won't melt if the weather is warm.

Get In Touch

What do your customers want to eat and drink when they’re sporting spectators? Or maybe they’re competing in sport, in which case we’ve got a great stock of energy drinks.

We’re wholesale suppliers of snacks and drinks for Lancashire, Yorkshire, and beyond.

Pick up the phone and call us on 0161 763 6020. Or you can email us at


Leave a Reply

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.