JULY DIGITAL EDITION – Remain calm – Life goes on as usual for UK grocery

Welcome to the July issue of The Grocery Trader. As our politicians try to work out what to do next after the UK vote to leave the EU, we suspect the dairy industry’s initial response on the morning of the results is typical of the rest of the grocery business: “We will continue to operate in a global market place and demonstrate an unwavering commitment to give nothing but the best.”

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frontMeanwhile the market panic that was expected has failed to materialise, with retailers’ share prices initially falling but then going on to recover again. The bottom line is, most people in these islands are probably more excited about how the countries in the UK are doing in the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament, our other current major engagement with the rest of Europe.

Also in this issue we have features on Back To School, Snacking and World Food.

However much we Brits might have disagreed with each other in recent days about the ideal nature of our relationships with the EU and other countries, we are united in our love of foods from these places but nothing compares with our national love of curry. The pop anthem ‘Vindaloo, vindaloo, vindaloo’ celebrated the intimate bond in the British psyche between football and curry back in the 1990s, since when curry has stayed top of the league as Britain’s favourite food.

Weeks before the school bells sound for the start of the autumn term, the supermarket tills are ringing with sales of school clothes and equipment. In our Omnichannel era, ‘Back To School’ is a classic example of how the UK multiple grocers engage with consumers across different categories – school uniforms ordered during a visit to a large superstore, computer consumables and stationery bought on-line and family cars refueled for the school run in supermarket forecourts.

But in value terms the biggest part of the Back to School opportunity is of course the food and drink that goes into school kids’ lunchboxes day in day out, and is a major component of the family’s ongoing grocery shop.

Finally, the way we eat meals in the UK is changing by degrees, with more of us going out to work and more of us living on our own and crucially, eating on our own.

The concept of three square meals a day is still important but the reality for many of us is that we are short of time. When hunger strikes, rather than wait until we can eat properly, we want to be cheered up with something that promises satisfaction right now, hence the importance of grazing, nibbling and snacking. Have a good month – stay calm!