Welcome to the April Grocery Trader. Easter’s been and gone and here we are, still wrapped up! Not to worry – if it’s cold outside, it’s time for a Big Night In, as our feature makes clear.

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GT_April_FrontLast month saw the UK grocery industry’s finest, and The Grocery Trader as well, making their way to the wonderful London ExCel for the latest IFE Show, which seems to get bigger every time. In this issue we look back at some of the exhibitors at the show. Walking round the IFE, you marvel at just how big the Show is and feel encouraged at seeing so many smaller companies setting out their stalls among the major players.

The great majority of grocery innovations are the brainchild of enthusiastic marketers with a good idea, who turn their attention to the nitty gritty of the supply chain and logistics last of all. So the lead story on our front cover is unusual, the tale of Logistics and supply chain consultants Logistic Partners who have been instrumental in launching new banana brand BanaBay into the UK grocery market.

BanaBay bananas are produced by one of Ecuador’s leading producers, who exports bananas to the US and Asia under world famous brands such as Fresh Del Monte. Logistic Partners have teamed up with the producers to provide import services into the UK, including managing the shipping, ripening, refrigerated transportation, storage and distribution processes, and ensure the fruit gets through in perfect condition.

Britain’s weather has definitely gone bananas – the March just ended has been confirmed as the joint second coldest since records began over 100 years ago. March’s average temperatures matched March 1947, beaten only by March 1962. So spare a thought for the people who work in the cold stores that are such an important part of the grocery industry’s supply chains.

That brings us to the other story on our front cover. The articulated forklift manufacturer Aisle-Master has won the Innovation category at this year’s UK FLTA Awards for Excellence for its new cold store model, beating six other shortlisted nominees to take this prestigious award.

Cold store operations’ needs are exacting: the costs per square foot are high, optimum driver comfort must be ensured, and low temperatures can be tough on equipment. Aisle-Master’s collaboration with major names in the cold store and temperature controlled warehousing industry enabled it to develop a truck that specifically addressed these issues while improving productivity.

Have a successful month, and whichever bit of the grocery industry you’re in, let’s hope it gets warmer soon!

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