front-jun08-small.jpgWelcome to the June issue of The Grocery Trader. Today’s supermarkets, Co-ops and C-store chains couldn’t exist without their retail IT backbone: no wonder this is a flourishing, regular section in our pages. Retail IT’s increasing importance has made the annual Retail Solutions exhibition a major fixture in the UK retail calendar: this year the event moves from the NEC to the London Excel, running from Tuesday 24th to Thursday 26th June. Our Retail IT section this month includes a preview of the forthcoming show. The Grocery Trader is proud to be a media partner to Retail Solutions: we’ll be at the show ourselves, so come and talk to us!

In this issue we also have three exclusive interviews covering differing aspects of grocery retailing. We talk to smokers’ requisites market leader Swedish Match, reusable shopping bag specialist The Green Bag Company, and condiments, dressings and ingredients experts The English Provender Company.

Following recent Budgets’ tax increases on tobacco, ‘Roll Your Own’ has been growing in popularity as a cheaper option. With a portfolio of market-leading brands in the matches, filters, lighters and smokers’ requisites categories, Swedish Match is one of the leading UK FMCG manufacturers. Regarded by many as the jewel in Swedish Match’s crown, the iconic Swan brand celebrates its 125th anniversary this year. Innovation continues to drive Swedish Match, and its latest launch, Swan Smooth, is a totally new concept of filter. As featured on our front page, Swan is also an associate sponsor of the 2008 Bennetts British Superbike Championship.

The English Provender Company has an established reputation as a quality, niche supplier, leaning to the speciality and fine food end of the grocery market. Its groundbreaking Very Lazy range of ingredients and dessert sauces has revolutionised life in the kitchen for busy consumers, with two products featuring in the ‘Delia’s Cheats’ ingredients.

Ireland’s 2002 introduction of a disposable plastic shopping bags tax cut their use there by over 90%. Since then, controlling disposable plastic shopping bags’ environmental impact has been high on the public affairs agenda worldwide. Concerned UK retailers are increasingly turning for help to The Green Bag Company, a specialist advisory, design and product supplier, operating all over the world, including here in Britain.

Also in this issue is our ‘Back To School’ feature, looking at Lunchboxes and what goes into them, plus our regular sections. Have a good month, and happy reading!

Charles Smith.

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