Welcome to The Grocery Trader’s Review Of The Year 2012. Christmas is zooming up faster than you can say “LEGO Star Wars 2012 Advent Calendar.” As another hard year nears its end, December is traditionally the time for taking stock and reviewing business. So to get into the mood we present The Grocery Trader’s Review of The Year, with a look back at some of the industry stories we’ll remember from 2012, and expert comments from Mintel, Manchester Business School, the IGD and more.

Our Review of The Year lift the lids on some of the areas of excellence where so much great work is being done in so many fields – among them grocery new product development and marketing, packaging, the back of the store and supply chain, and retail IT.

In the year of the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics and Paralympics our Review of 2012 celebrates a golden year for the UK grocery industry, highlighting its outstanding ability to innovate and meet consumer needs. True, there was more sun this autumn than in the summer, but the industry still grabbed its ‘Moment To Shine’ like an Olympic torch.

Innovation is key to success in the grocery industry. Our Review leads with EQ8, the natural energy drink created by Air Asia, QPR and Caterham Formula 1 tycoon Tony Fernandes and business partner Kamarudin Meranun. They found a gap for a natural energy drink, moderate in caffeine, containing no taurine, but crammed with fruit juices and naturally energising ingredients. EQ8’s category growth potential has been recognised by listings in Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

The back of the store and supply chain are also of critical importance in today’s grocery industry, and aptly enough the other story on our Review’s front page is about Translift Bendi, whose pedestrian operated Mini Bendi very narrow aisle forklifts lifted the Innovation Award at Asda’s annual Store Proposition Award ceremony, based on the effect it has had on reducing construction costs whilst also solving work place transport challenges.

On the grocery side food companies achieving excellence in 2012 include Grace Foods, who supported the UK’s first Caribbean Food Week and whose Nurishment is helping drive the functional drinks category, New Covent Garden, who keep the fresh soup category focused on quality, Kepak, Convenience Foods, whose Rustlers and Zugo’s Deli Café brands are reinventing lunchtime, and Geeta’s Foods, whose new Spice Route range celebrates India’s vast culinary regions, including Gujarat, Kerala, Punjab and Kashmir – tastes many Brits will be longing for come Boxing Day!

Here’s to another year of innovation in 2013.

The Grocery Trader

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