Welcome to the November issue of The Grocery Trader. Despite continuing tough UK trading conditions the leading multiple grocers are still committed to investing in improving the performance of their back of store areas and supply chains, in the build up to Christmas. That’s the upbeat message from our quarterly Back of Store feature, bringing you a round up of the latest news about warehouse & logistics products and services for the grocery supply chain.

Consumers face continuing pressure on their household budgets, and the multiple grocers jostle for their cash with attractive offers and promotions. As always the winners in the latest checkout clashes will be those retailers with the strongest and most efficient back of store supply chains, enabling them to keep their fixtures fully stocked.

As reported on our front page and in the Back of Store feature, Sainsbury’s and Toyota Material Handling UK are working in partnership to trial alternative battery technology Lithium Ion. The two companies, who have a long-standing working relationship, have been testing the new battery technology in one of Sainsbury’s largest DC’s since September. As the story reveals, both Sainsbury’s and Toyota are known for their dedication to innovation and continuous improvement, making this partnership a perfect fit in the pursuit of back of store excellence.

Also on our front page and in this feature, storage solutions expert SSI Schaefer is committed to helping the UK multiple grocers and other leading retailers gain competitive advantage by incorporating automation into their supply chains. ‘Efficiency through Automation’ was the take-home message at SSI Schaefer’s recent annual Automation Day Conference in Liverpool, which highlighted the advantages of implementing automation into existing logistics operations.

When the weather’s cold and miserable, and the skies are steely grey, it’s time to bring on the sauce. As our Table Talk feature reveals, table sauces and condiments are a tasty sales opportunity year in year out, pitched at affordable prices to sell well whatever the economy’s doing.

Tomato ketchup and mayonnaise dominate table sauces, but there’s still plenty of scope on the fixtures for other recipes and tastes. In recent years niche products such as Encona Hot Pepper Sauce have been gaining ground and moving out of their original strongholds in the ethnic community into the mainstream. Meanwhile English mustard has taken a dip in popularity as our tastes become more cosmopolitan. For younger consumers and others who want something a bit different, French’s, America’s favourite mustard brand, now offers a brand new taste sensation in French’s new Smooth & Spicy mustard.

Have a successful month.

Charles Smith, The Grocery Trader

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