Welcome to our Christmas edition where there is much thoughtful news that should give pointers for new years’ preparations to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead, where failure to do so is not an option.


In our editorial on e-commerce posing the biggest threat to grocers, for example, the American TD Bank survey claims that the food and beer industries are being transformed by growth in e-commerce, but many grocers see it as the biggest threat to their businesses, as e-commerce sales in America will grow by 18% this year, making it the fastest growing category online, according to 2019 data from eMarketer. As a result, revenue is expected to surpass $19bn by the end of this year. “E-commerce is rapidly changing the way that consumers buy groceries,” says Joseph Memia, head of asset bank lending at TD Bank.

Traditionally, the industry catered for bricks and mortar stores but this is changing with use of technology and mobile devices. “To remain competitive, grocers need to invest in channels that deliver speed, convenience and savings.”

Some of TD Bank’s findings chime with dunnhumby’s November report: “The Future of Retail Revenues Must Be Data Led,” conducted by Forester Consulting that found 85% of retailers globally lack capabilities, technology, people and processes to use insight to monetise their data and drive customer experience in the $5-9 trillion worldwide grocery retail market. Despite the barriers, 82% of UK grocery retailers view their revenues as their top priority in 2020 and plan to improve their use of data insights to develop customer strategies.

“The grocery market is in a fight for survival against pure play and other non-traditional competitors who are further squeezing wafer thin margins,” says David Clements, global retail director of dunnhumby. “Time is of the essence for retailers to activate the data they already have to improve customer experience and create new revenue streams that support their business into the future,” says Mr Clements.

Still on insights, why not check out our interview with Kerry Foods’ director, Dawn Spencer, on her take on the trend to ‘meat-free’ products and the exponential growth in snacking.

In our main feature sections of Petcare, Vaping and Batteries there are tips based on trends to exploit the opportunities. In pet care, a £2.3bn industry, for example, one key trend is that pet lovers are showing the same concern for their pets’ diets as for their own health. This has been seen in the growth of plant-based and specialist meal offerings. Mars Petcare noticed another interesting trend — the pet population is changing. Smaller dogs, unique breeds and older pets are making up the pet population of the future, driven by urbanisation.

In the fight to wean smokers off tobacco smoking it seems that the role of pharmacists is being overlooked, even though the role of their pharmacotherapies, including NRT, can increase smoking cessation success and that one is four times more likely to quit with expert support. See what other trend-inspiring insights and new developments could do to boost your sales.

This is the busiest time of the year for small consumer batteries and it is clear that a common thread is increasing numbers of buyers are choosing to give their loved ones electronic presents. Batteries present a variable opportunity for distressed purchases and impulse buyers for supermarkets and their satellite c-format, so make sure you don’t miss the boat.

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