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Welcome to The Grocery Trader’s July issue. In our celeb-obsessed culture it’s refreshing to hear of someone in this industry getting an award for doing a great job and not seeking the limelight. So stand up John Bancroft, founder of Badgemaster, Britain’s leading supplier of name badges to retail and commerce. As reported in this issue, John got the MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to business in Badgemaster’s home county, Nottinghamshire.

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GT_July_FrontJohn founded Badgemaster with his wife Vicky in 1992 in a former mining village hit hard by the closure of the local collieries. The company is now Britain’s leading name badge manufacturer and a major employer in the area. Badgemaster received Notts County Council’s first “Bridge to Work” award in 1997 for its training and development of previously unemployed people. Badgemaster was granted the Royal Warrant for the supply of name badges by appointment to the Queen’s royal households in 2006.

Also in this issue we interview another John making things happen – John Armstrong, Marketing Director at Kepak Convenience Foods. Kepak’s microwaveable hot snacks go from strength to strength: iconic lads’ fuel Rustlers is in The Grocer’s Top 100 brands and ZUGO’s Deli Café is a major TV-advertised brand. Kepak is embarking on a new mission – empowering retailers to significantly increase profits from the quick, hot meals in their chillers by merchandising them as a new category, ‘Hot, Quick & Tasty.’ An early form of HQT in convenience stores saw 30% sales increases.

Persuading retailers to change the way they sell these products is a serious undertaking, but the irreverent advertising that got Rustlers into the top brands will continue. As John Armstrong says, ‘Rustlers’ audience is getting older, but they still like the same things, and we’ll keep them happy.’ That’s a relief…

Also in this issue we have features on Ethnic Food & Drink and Back To School. Interestingly, as the UK ethnic foods market goes on growing, encompassing Asian, Oriental and Afro-Caribbean, Polish and African, major players like Grace Foods, the UK’s number 1 Caribbean food and drink supplier and Surya, the company behind Laila Basmati Rice, are widening their ranges beyond their initial expertise to take in foods from other parts of the world. Tasty!

Finally, from July onwards parents of school age children are getting their wallets out, spending on stuff for the new school year. With our hectic lives Back to School is one bit of the to-do list that’s often left to the last minute. So there’s the lesson – multiple grocers with a strong offering will get top marks when parents come to buy.

Have a good month.

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