APRIL DIGITAL EDITION – A perfect storm – UK consumers brave Easter weather and carry on shopping

Welcome to the Grocery Trader’s April issue. This Easter just gone pulled off the double in weather extremes. Friday and Monday were sunny, sending people racing to buy DIY and garden items and other non-food must-haves. The other two days it rained non-stop, perfect for staying in and online shopping. Either way the long weekend was good news all round for the supermarkets.

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frontAs the soft drinks industry hits the headlines over sugar tax, on our front page The Berry Company, one of Europe’s fastest growing drinks brands, is set for a big year with ambitious plans for a brand overhaul and an exciting suite of new wellbeing products in food and drink. The Berry Company is starting by re-launching its existing juice and tea range with 40% reduced sugar and calories, in line with a refreshing new pack design.

It is also moving into food and snacking categories, launching a range of healthy ‘on-the-go’ snacks.

Streamlining multiple grocers’ distribution operations calls for cost efficient, effective logistics.

Also on our front page we have the story of Alnatura, the leading German organic foods supermarket implementing Swisslog’s new CycloneCarrier small-items warehouse shuttle system in its flagship DC, serving over 100 stores.

In our features we look at The Big Night In, The Light Stuff and Fraud & Loss Prevention. It’s not surprising the Big Night In has become such an important element in grocery purchasing.

People work hard and look forward to a break, relaxing with friends and family. We’re all more aware these days of the goodies and baddies in our dietary intake, but a Big Night In ought to offer the chance for a treat without worrying and we should be able to feel free to enjoy ourselves.

Despite headlines screaming about obesity, a large chunk of Britain’s population is becoming healthier and more discerning in their lifestyle choices. As our “Lite Stuff” feature reminds us, two decades ago low, no and free from products were either confined to health food shops or if the supermarkets stocked them, they often placed them away from the main fixture for their category and it was a mission to find them. The price of a gluten free loaf was around three times one with ordinary flour. Since then as retail distribution has improved, the prices have come down. Which is progress.

As our other feature bears out, these days retail fraud and loss prevention involves far more than stopping grocery items being pilfered and catching shoplifters.

The advent of chip and PIN technology a decade ago ushered in a major change in the pattern of retail fraud in the UK. With retailers becoming liable for card fraud losses in their stores, it ushered in a new generation of POS technology.

Have a good month, rain or shine.