Welcome to The Grocery Trader’s April issue. Just when you thought it was over, this winter has made more comebacks than Joan Collins. Easter Sunday 2018 falls on April 1st: we’ve had snowfalls at Easter before, so it’s not impossible we could this year as well. Hopefully by the time Foodex opens at the NEC on Monday April 16th we’ll all be feeling sunny and springlike.
If we get this much snow again next year, maybe instead of spring we should call the new season ‘SprInterTime.’ Is it climate change? Did Putin send it from Russia with love, along with the nerve agents? What we know for sure is that the multitemperature distribution specialists Oakland International, featured on this issue’s cover, and their colleagues in the UK’s retail supply chains have done a great job keeping the products moving and the shelves filled.
From the white stuff to our Lite Stuff feature, Leendert den Hollander, CCEP’s VP and General Manager UK says Classic Coke won’t be disappearing from shelves any time soon. However the company is committed to filling the gap in their portfolio between drinks with sugar and those with none at all, with the launch of some new brands that are definitely outside CCEP’s core carbonates business, involving tea, coffee, organics and plant-based beverages. In other CCEP news they have also pledged to do their bit to help the plastic crisis by recovering all the plastic they put out and packaging their products in lighter weight, 100% recyclable plastic bottles. By 2020, 50% of CCEP’s bottles will be recycled material.
If you managed to avoid the snow, there’s no escaping Brexit. Some observers saw Unilever’s HQ’s impending move to Rotterdam as a sign of business losing confidence in the UK government over Brexit. However the company insists it is nothing to do with the divorce and they are keeping their fastest growing businesses, beauty and personal care and home care, headquartered here. Which is reassuring, but also a reminder that any other major multinational restructuring from here on is going to set everyone twitching.
And finally, here’s to McVitie’s heat warming new commercial “Crane.” In case you’ve not seen it, it features a solitary tower crane driver in his cab high up over a building site, who is feeling sorry for himself until his colleagues down below send up a tray of McVitie’s biscuits and a mug of tea. You can’t help being cheered by its message that something as simple as sharing biscuits has the power to bring people together, and we should put down our mobiles and get reconnected. Who knows, it could even make British consumers start longing for a McVitie’s biscuit whenever they see a tower crane.
See you at Foodex, and have a good month.