Welcome to The Grocery Trader’s December issue, and Merry Christmas to all our readers. Here we are in the final month of another year, with our last roundup of news stories for 2015 and features on Lunchtime and Transit Packaging & Returnables.


frontTo get you into the Christmas mood, don’t miss our Review of The Year 2015, looking back at some of the companies and stories that were big this year, together with expert comment and predictions from Mintel, the British Soft Drinks Association and many more. We’ve come through a memorable year for the multiple grocers, in which the discounters came into their own and the major mults woke up to the fact that consumers weren’t satisfied with the large store format, they expected 24/7 convenience and more.

Meanwhile on our front page we have a story about coconut products, a classic case of ethnic foods crossing into the mainstream to become part of the national cookery repertoire. World foods brand Tropical Sun is staking its claim to be king of coconut products with an integrated marketing campaign for its coconut range, featuring prime time sponsorship on ethnic TV channels plus sponsorship on radio, plus print and online marketing support, heightened in the run up to Christmas.

Also on our front page, the Welsh food and drink industry received a significant boost last month towards its 2020 target of annual sales growth to £7 billion, 30% up on current levels. The three food centres in Wales, Zero2Five Food Industry Centre, Cardiff, Food Centre Wales, Horeb and Food Technology Centre, Llangefni, signed a memorandum of understanding to work together under the Food Innovation Wales brand. A cluster of Welsh companies joined Welsh food technologists at last month’s Food Matters Live to showcase Wales becoming a testing ground for food innovation and NPD.

So what will next year look like in multiple grocery retailing? Industry experts IGD predict the big retailers will continue to have their ankles bitten by the rest of the field. To hold their ground the IGD reckon the majors need to reinforce value and reassure shoppers they’re getting a good deal. They will have to showcase their ‘fresh’ offering against the home delivery providers and justify shoppers lingering longer in store. They will also need to re-think their non-food offering, especially larger stores with space to showcase extra ranges in store. In the Omnichannel era this will serve to highlight these retailers’ competitive non-food offer versus on line-only retailers and traditional high street non-food stores.

Have a great Christmas, and see you in January.

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