Welcome to the December 2013 Grocery Trader. With the pace hotting up in stores and Christmas zooming towards us faster than you can say “Santa send me a Single Malt gift set,” here’s to the multiple grocers and their suppliers working flat out to deliver the goods to Britain’s shoppers ahead of the big day.

chazTo help get into the festive mood we present our Review of The Year, looking back at some of the stories we’ll remember from 2013. This has been a year of major innovation and achievement by suppliers in the grocery industry, and our Review of The Year shines an appreciative light on areas of excellence where much great work is being done in so many fields – among them grocery NPD and marketing, packaging and the back of the store.

To take just two companies featured in the Review, the long cold spell in early 2013 and successful NPD in OTC medicine and home and hygiene meant this has been a strong year for RB’s portfolio of household name consumer brands. And when the warmer weather finally came in May, it was the turn of Kepak Convenience Foods, the hot snacking specialists best known for power brand Rustlers, to grab headlines with their ‘Hot, Quick & Tasty’ initiative. As featured on our Review’s front page, ‘HQT’ is a tasty new category definition for the array of single serve products prepared in under 5 minutes and eaten hot, and Kepak are urging retailers to re-appraise how they approach ‘HQT’ foods, forecast to top £500 million in sales in a decade.

As reported on our front cover, with more mainstream shoppers turning to world foods, prompted by Jamie Oliver and others whose recipes feature these exciting tastes and flavours, Tropical Sun Foods is going all out to ensure retailers are engaged and encourage their shoppers to shop the world foods category for a taste of the tropics. Tropical Sun launched its first TV campaign in late November. Part of its biggest marketing investment yet, the campaign runs across a number of popular ethnic TV channels targeting audiences including African, Caribbean and Asian, and focusing on the brand’s table sauces. The TV blitz is being amplified with billboards in London, Birmingham and Manchester plus ads on London buses and in underground stations.

In our other mouthwatering front page story, whole chickens ready to be roasted in the bag with a variety of delicious added-value flavours have hit Asda’s chiller cabinets as part of their Butcher’s Choice range, with new ovenable printed packaging produced by FFP. FFP worked closely with UK food company Faccenda, who were challenged by Asda to come up with a truly innovative packed product, and teamed up with FFP and others to create the category-defining result. Produced in conjunction with DuPont Teijin Films the new packaging allows people to cook a chicken from scratch without handling the raw bird. Sunday roasts may never be the same…

Have a great Christmas break, and see you in January.

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