While it would be crass to try turn the Coronavirus outbreak into positive news, the fact remains that UK grocery sales were at record levels in March as customers stockpiled. In the four weeks to the end of March, year-on-year supermarket sales grew by 20.6% according to Kantar. This is also partly due to the restrictions on movement and the closure of restaurants and cafes, meaning all meals are now eaten at home.


The restrictions imposed in the wake of the stockpiling are now being eased at Aldi, Morrisons, Waitrose and Asda, although Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Co-op have not yet changed their restrictions.

Supermarkets have been responsible in encouraging social distancing and have donated to food banks, while also creating drop-off points for customers to donate products.

Even before the Coronavirus, the Big 4 supermarkets were experiencing the green shoots of recovery as till sales improved in February, we report in our news pages. In other positive news, retail egg sales have grown by a huge 50% in the last 10 years.

A new report by Public Health England has revealed the crucial role vaping is playing in helping smokers make the switch from tobacco.

Adrian Lawlor, Marketing and Business Development Director – Consumer Foods at Kepak, explains in our Supplier Spotlight interview why the Rustlers brand has been given a radical new look and how the brand is taking advantage of the trend for convenience that is driving the micro-snacks market.

On our Meet the Marketer page, Kat Jones, Marketing Manager, Ice Cream & Snacking at General Mills discusses the biggest trends in premium ice cream and tells us about the new Ha?agen-Dazs Fruit Obsessions tubs.

Meanwhile, Levi Boorer, Customer Development Director at Ferrero, reveals how premium options are driving the boxed chocolates market.

In our Tobacco & Smokers’ Accessories feature we remind retailers that the Menthol Ban is set on come into place on May 20. Both cigarettes and Roll Your Own tobacco containing characterising flavours such as menthol will be banned from sale in the UK, leaving many existing adult smokers without their product of choice. While some adult smokers may simply switch to other traditional tobacco alternatives, many menthol consumers may also use this as an opportunity to explore new ways to stick with their flavour preference and move into vaping.

Although the world of soft drinks is changing, the overriding reasons why consumers choose a soft drink will remain constant – great taste, flavour choice and the right pack formats, our Soft Drinks & Bottled Waters feature says.

Our final category feature is Ice Cream and Frozen Foods. Ice cream is the largest frozen sector by sales value in summer and the second largest in winter. Sales of ice cream see an uplift during the summer months, with peak sales taking place from May to September.

Until next month, hang in there and stay safe.

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