The CMA’s final decision isn’t due until May, but the Sainsbury’s-Asda merger now looks unlikely to happen. The CMA’s interim report offers a breathing space to a host of people – the other supermarkets, wholesalers and buying groups, independent retailers and symbol groups, suppliers and their logistics partners.


Observers expect plenty of plotting as these interested parties assess the opportunities the parked merger presents, followed by some exciting developments, not least Sain-sda’s next move.

Having hosted Live Aid and other historic events, Wembley Stadium was the obvious setting for the first ‘Diversity in Inclusion in Grocery’ conference, as we report. The vision of five founding companies, Tesco, Accenture, P&G, Mondelez and Coca Cola, in partnership with Grocery Aid, the prime focus was gender equality but LGBTQ+ rights, disability inclusion and mental health were also covered. We look forward to more such events.

Over a quarter of shoppers are either stockpiling or plan to ahead of Brexit. GlobalData’s retail tracker shows consumers take the possibility of a ‘no-deal’ increasingly seriously. GlobalData’s Thomas Brereton says two-thirds of shoppers believe food and grocery prices will rise “notably.”

Despite smoking rates and sales volumes declining, the British tobacco market remains bullish, says Paul Coggins at Imperial Tobacco in our Tobacco feature. Roll Your Own has been consistently growing, speeding up since the packaging and display regulations took effect in 2017. HMRC has appointed De La Rue to implement the upcoming track and trace system for tobacco sold in the UK. Speaking of which, 60% of retailers JTI surveyed were unsure when the track and trace rules come in (it’s May 20th.) At £8billion and growing soft drinks is one of the most profitable categories, growing eight percent annually. In our feature, Britvic reckon the sugar tax has served its purpose in prompting consumers to rethink their consumption, with growing numbers switching from full sugar to low and no added sugar options.

A recent IGD report forecasts UK food to go sales reaching £23.5bn by 2022, from £17.4bn in 2017. In our feature, as the supermarkets’ convenience outlets develop, FTG is one of their main shopper destinations.

In Household & Laundry, with more women working and consumers shopping locally more often, big detergent packs and so on still hold sway but convenience format stores’ sales are growing.

And finally, let’s have a bit of glamour. RH Amar bought Mary Berry’s Foods in 2014 but still consult the great lady on brand developments. In our Meet the Marketer interview Anne-Marie Cannon, Mary Berry’s Brand Manager, unveils the dressings and sauces’ colourful new look ahead of the summer sales season. As Mary likes to say, scrumptious!

Charles Smith


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