The feelgood factor is back. Consumer spending improved to April, helped by higher earnings, warmer weather and the Brexit extension. Meanwhile Confex are unruffled about 20 members forming the breakaway National Buying Consortium. Jess Douglas, Confex Marketing Manager, said Confex has 19 new members with £162m combined turnover, “so our buying power and leverage continue unchanged.”


Also in the news Raj Krishan, Sugro’s head of business development has left after just a few months. Sugro have engaged an interim to replace him. Jonathan Townend is an ex Senior National Account Manager of Princes Soft Drinks and ex Sales Director of McBrides.

It’s an exciting time for Jess Markowski, in our Supplier Spotlight. Recently appointed Sales Director – Convenience and Wholesale at Budweiser Brewing Group, AB InBev UK & Ireland’s new name, Jess will be key to growing Budweiser’s off-trade presence.

In our Focus on Foodservice interview Maria Chong, MD of Lee Kum Kee Europe, the largest Chinese sauce brand globally, says salt is the original natural seasoning and there’s no need to worry about the level in sauces, used in small amounts.

The first vaping products found an enthusiastic following with smokers wanting to stop but many early offerings were of varying quality. Cue our Next Generation Products feature, looking at what’s followed. JUUL Labs, America’s leading vape supplier, has partnered with Bestway Wholesale to widen its convenience distribution.

Staying with vaping, we have a Meet the Marketer interview with Chris Street, Trade Marketing Head at blu UK. Flavour authenticity is an important factor for would-be quitters and blu’s latest launch is an improved Golden Tobacco flavour. Speaking of authenticity, the term “craft drinks” can be challenging. In another Meet the Marketer interview we talk to Sally McKinnon, Head of Marketing at cider maker Westons, who use local apples and age products in oak.

In our Biscuits & Cakes feature Stuart Graham, Customer Marketing Director at pladis UK & Ireland reminds us it’s easy to underrate biscuits’ huge contribution to retail and foodservice. Nine out of 10 shoppers claim to snack multiple times per day, while 7% forego meals altogether and rely on snacks.

And finally, in our ‘Rising Stars’ interview, before Huib Van Bockel founded natural energy drink Tenzing, he was instrumental in transforming Red Bull into “a media company producing amazing content, developing brand partnerships and selling some drinks along the way.” Huib’s new brand Tenzing, after Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, is made with green coffee, green tea and rock salt, like the Sherpas’ teas, and only 4.5g of sugar per can. Watch that man, as David Bowie sang.

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