No stopping now – The countdown to Christmas is on!

Welcome to the November issue of The Grocery Trader. Less than two months to Christmas, and there’s no stopping now. Meanwhile, innovation continues to be the UK multiple grocery industry’s lifeblood, and in these pages we have news from suppliers of products, equipment and services who are helping retailers achieve success in the front and the back of store.

chazAs reported on our front page Great Food, the Milton Keynes-based independent company specialising in seriously tasty vegetarian food, is launching its new range of delicious and versatile products to take advantage of the expanding vegetarian market. Already successful in the specialist food sector and building distribution in mainstream fixtures the brand appeals to a widening audience, reflecting our changing lifestyles and approach to food, and offering tasty and healthier alternatives to having meat with every meal.

Also on our front page Ceinconsa SA, growers of BanaBay bananas, the new brand launched earlier this year, have netted two places in the annual ‘Banana King’ competition in Ecuador, a country recognised worldwide for producing premium quality bananas. Since BanaBay bananas arrived nine months ago, the brand has gone from strength to strength, now supplying bananas to the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, Egypt and, most recently, New Zealand.

We have an exclusive interview with Nikhil Nathwani, Director of Nicolites, the e-cigarette supplier, currently one of the UK’s fastest growing companies and set to turn over £50m in 2014. Confirming Nicolites’ status as a major brand, it recently spent nearly £1m on a nationwide advertising campaign, and signed a major shirt sponsorship deal with Birmingham City FC.

Also in this issue we report on the latest innovations in packaging, as presented at the recent Packaging Innovations Show at the London Business Design Centre. And in our Table Talk feature, we take a tempting look at some of the ‘hottest’ and ‘coolest’ sauces and condiments for shoppers’ tables.

As our quarterly Back of Store feature confirms, the multiple grocers lead UK industry in investing in warehousing and logistics for their supply chains, served by a host of specialist equipment and service providers. As reported in this feature, frozen warehouse provider Partner Logistics’ £42million facility in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, is Britain’s biggest deep freeze warehouse and was recently a finalist in the Warehouse Operations category in the CILT Awards, recognising innovation in logistics and transport.

Have a successful month.