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Welcome to The Grocery Trader’s May issue. Cheering news just in from the Synovate Retail Traffic Index is that UK retail footfall for the Easter fortnight was 7.5% up on 2008, versus 4.1% predicted. Here’s to a summer of shopping surges in our supermarkets, Co-ops and C-store chains, starting with this month’s two bank holidays and sustained by decent weather. As it warms up outside, staying cool in store is crucial. In this issue we interview Jeppe Lisberg, AHT’s International Sales Director. Seen at the recent Convenience Retail Show, AHT Cooling Systems acclaimed range of high quality chest freezers and chilling cabinets helps retailers worldwide reduce their refrigeration running costs and carbon footprint, while growing sales through improved merchandising.

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As our leading retailers appreciate, supporting smaller specialist suppliers is vital to keep fresh product innovation coming and maintain consumer interest. A regional supplier to watch is Tastes of Anglia producer member Don Lear, aka ‘The Bhaji Man’. Previously an award-winning East Anglian car dealer, Sri Lankan-born Don has drawn on his personal passion for cooking to produce his range of BhajiMan Easy Mixes and BhajiMan Spice Kits to cook dinner for 4-6 persons, which allow inexperienced cooks to serve great tasting authentic Eastern homemade dishes. Don is committed to getting more young people and busy mums and dads cooking at home and takes part in major food festivals in the East of England to promote the brand in the region, and visits local primary schools to promote herbs, spices and home cooking. We hope to bring you more news about the Bhaji Man’s progress in future issues.

To help your business stay in shape for summer, our May features are Outdoor Living, Vegetarian Focus, Warehousing & Logistics and the IFE 09 Review. ŒOutdoor Living’ highlights products that sell well when it’s sunny, from allergy treatments to barbecue sauces. The feature mentions the 13th National BBQ Week from 25th-31st May. Since the National BBQ Association’s promotional and sampling campaigns started, UK BBQ occasions have shot from 1997’s 9 million to last year¹s sizzling 101 million plus.

Our Vegetarian Focus celebrates another Week this month, National Vegetarian Week (18th-24th May), when the Vegetarian Society is encouraging people to try vegetarian food through local and national events. Stand by for increased Œveggie’ purchases in your stores.

March’s IFE show was a further triumph for the food and drink industry, with thousands of senior international decision makers converging on London ExCeL. Revisit the exhibition in our IFE09 Review, without the sore feet. Finally, multiple grocers cannot function without effective supply chains, and the smart operators continue to invest in this important area. For a pallet load of inspiration about best practice and new products and equipment, see our Warehousing & Logistics feature.

Have a successful month.

Charles Smith, The Grocery Trader

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