Welcome to this issue, where there is much food for thought to deal with seismic changes to come, which if ignored poses threats to the unprepared. What seems to stand out most is the huge impact of health attitudes on changing food consumption habits, something we highlight in our healthy living section. Here you will find not only how health concerns are forcing changes on suppliers and wholesale/retail outlets but also the remarkable shift to snacking, now applicable to 35% of consumers who snack more than twice a day.
Health concerns are also seriously affecting the drinks sector as our interview with James Cragg, Diageo’s head of eCommerce of the UK and Ireland explains. Regarding trends, he says there has been a real shift in the way customers consume alcohol, with preference expressed for low and no choices in the market, including its recently-launched Gordons Ultra Low gin and tonic-flavoured drinks. Portentously, though, for bricks and mortar outlets James refers to the steady rise in the number of shoppers buying online.
Our vaping feature also is redolent with health implications. As we point out, it is generally accepted that despite a few recent issues vaping is 95% safer than tobacco smoking and much cheaper. Here you will learn what lessons retailers and wholesalers must learn about the strong, habitual sales patterns emerging in what is an ever-evolving vaping category, currently worth about £1.4bn in the UK, but according to one prediction could hit £4.46bn by 2021. Flavours are critically important, but outlets must prepare accordingly for the menthol ban coming into force in March next year. See what Edge and others are doing to prepare for it.
Our Easter section has plenty of advice on how to prepare for what amounts to three great sales opportunities awaiting those nimble enough to be prepared, namely Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and the biggest Spring sales bonanza of Easter, admittedly confined mainly to confectionery products. But each of these markets requires different approaches to exploit fully all the opportunities. Why not also check out our Lunch and Food-to-Go section, where following the trends will help you prepare for the changes to come.
It would be almost churlish not to mention what must be the greatest achievement in the food industry awards, possibly in the world. Brakes took home the coveted FoodService supplier of Year Award, sweeping the board with a dozen wins. It took top slot in 11 different food categories, including meat, poultry and deli. To find out how they achieved this remarkable feat why not check out: “Brakes lands 12 awards.”
Much of what we publish in the various sections chimes with the findings of the recent Tyneside FoodService annual show, where a sustainable future was at the heart of the show. Many manufacturers were pushing Vegan options as more consumers ask for these options on menus, so the wholesaler, Tyneside FoodService, believes its customers will have to redevelop accordingly.
So it looks like a busy and challenging new year ahead, but one full of great sales opportunities. Why not, therefore, use the Christmas holiday to fortify yourselves in the meantime for things to come?