Welcome to The Grocery Trader’s September issue. Most people are home from their holidays, and the kids are about to go back to school. So on past experience that means we should expect a heat wave to arrive shortly…

In this month’s features we look at Christmas, Home Baking and Merchandising & Display. As the first Yuletide merchandise displays start appearing any day now, we bring you our first run-down of the year on Christmas products. Christmas shopping is yet another job for busy mums to fit into their schedule, so the smart ones start doing theirs early.

Grandma would be tickled to see the steady rise in home baking that’s sweeping the UK. But the home baking habit isn’t just growing because cash-strapped shoppers are making their budgets stretch further – these days home baking has shaken off its mumsy image, taking on the glamour of an extreme sport, as seen in televised bake-offs complete with lots of action close-ups.

In our Merchandising & Display feature, Heidi Easton of the Shop and Display Equipment Association offers valuable advice to multiple grocery traders on how to make the most of their store environments to drive sales. As Heidi says, for somebody who has natural design creativity and flair, the art of good store design may be simple. But for most people, designing an exciting store can be really tough. We also hear from a number of different equipment suppliers who are experts on this crucial topic.

In this month’s exclusive interview, we hear from John Armstrong, Marketing Director of Kepak Convenience Foods. As regular readers will know, Kepak has played the major role during the last decade in building the UK hot snacking market and making retailers appreciate its importance. Its first success was with the Rustlers brand, which appeals strongly to young males in their teens to 20’s and is heading for a place in the top 100 UK grocery brands. Rustlers has been followed onto the shelves by Zugo’s Deli Café, the café-style hot panini range, and Rustlers Hot Subs and Hot Wrap. Having won over Britain and Ireland, Kepak is now making inroads into Continental Europe. Rustlers continues to delight its core audience here with its myth-busting online campaign “Fit as a Butcher’s Daughter,” featuring butcher’s daughter Lexi O’Leary, who likes her meat ‘well hung’. Unlike so many supposedly edgy products targeting the youth market, Rustlers are a robust breath of fresh air. We look forward to seeing what they come up with next.

Charles Smith, The Grocery Trader

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