buyer’s diary

Monday

How kind of P amp;G to act as a ‘Proud sponsor of Mums on Mothering Sunday’.

Their poetical one page advert in a Sunday Telegraph supplement was a novel way of showing how much they care but outside of the wholesale/retail world, do the general public really know who they are and what brands they bring to the market?

We celebrated Mother’s Day at home with a bottle of Antoine de Clevency Champagne, courtesy of Sainsbury’s for just pound;10 a bottle, reduced apparently from over pound;28. Very nice too. It’s a pity it imposed a maximum six-bottle purchase per customer as we might have gone down for a van load.

Quality Street seeks to profit from the forthcoming royal wedding with its limited edition pictorial tin. It reminds me of a previous royal occasion when an over zealous shelf filler used his price gun to stick a strong adhesive label on a full pallet of biscuits right on Prince Philip’s head.

The Co-operative has been very active with its door-to-door leaflet drop in recent months. Save over pound;70 with these deals says its leaflet a very tempting offer until I realise this selection of half price, discounted and two for one deals hardly represents a regular weekly shop for a spend of well in excess of pound;85.

Tuesday

Galaxy has another potential winner with the launch of Galaxy Bites, mouth watering bite size pieces of chocolate with a soft caramel centre.

Mars is investing pound;14m behind its pound;250m brand this year. A big spend. The company must be praised for its investment in the Mars Refuel Drink Fund, which is dedicated to the development of grass route sports across the country. It offers support to clubs and individuals with improving training facilities, club houses equipment and travel costs.

I like the look of Aunt Bessie’s new range of hot desserts. They say the new puddings have been designed to appeal to a wide range of consumers with traditional and familiar favourites like Sticky Toffee, Chocolate Sponge, Lemon Meringue Pie and Apple amp; Custard Crumble. We can’t wait to put them to the test.

We were surprised to read that the price of fresh fruits have risen by nearly 8% over the past year and that independent retailers are failing to capitalise on this important category.

The ACS is actively involved in helping independents to improve their overall garden produce offering and we, too, are accepting the challenge.

Wednesday

Following the 2010 re-design across the HP Sauce range, Heinz is responding to consumer demand by turning its BBQ sauce on its head.

In Classic, Honey, and spicy flavours, the new top down format will, it is claimed, have a more premium look which will appeal to both new and existing consumers. ‘By introducing the new format we are making it easier for people to add a squeeze of their favourite HP BBQ Sauce to their sausage or burger’, says the brand manager. Don’t you just love this marketing speak.

Volvic natural mineral water has been performing very well so it will be interesting to see how the launch of their limited edition Touch of Fruit range will go down.

Walkers will stop at nothing to maintain its brand leadership in the potato crisp market, so the arrival of Walkers Crinkles, a new range of crinkle-cut crisps this month is not unexpected. It says it is the biggest category launch in the past five years, saying that the new crisps ‘have been designed so there is more flavour in the grooves crinkle-cut’. Yes, but what about The Real McCoy.

Thursday

It is hard to believe that the cold tea market nearly doubled last year.

OK, I’m always drinking my tea cold but I put that down to overwork and forgetfulness. Lipton’s Ice, on the other hand, is boasting a 102% performance according to Neilsen stats.

It has been suggested that the canned foods industry is doomed. The Key Note research company says the canned foods industry is threatened by the rapid increase in cartons and re-sealable pouches. Canned desserts and cooking sauces are the big losers and with pet foods, tomatoes, baked beans and many other products moving from can to environmentally friendly carton or plastic packs, it is becoming more difficult to see a role for the can in the future.

The news that more than 5,700 alcohol licences have been surrendered over the past year is damming evidence of the closure of many small restaurants, bars and clubs and highlights the fate of many independent operators who have traditionally sourced product through the independent sector.

Friday

The budget did little to boost confidence for us or our customers.

Duty rises on alcohol and tobacco have risen by 2% over inflation, a figure itself influenced by the recent rise in VAT to 20%. An increase of 50p on the price of a packet of economy fags (33p for premium brand smokers) is the largest increase ever imposed in the UK and apparently makes cigarettes here up to three and half times more expensive than in many European countries.

And it represents an added bonus to all those engaged in smuggling. A 4p a pint increase on beer is unlikely to harm regulars at my local but increases of 15p on wine and over 50p on spirits looks harsh for responsible drinkers.

Innocent’s launch of its ‘smooth and with bits’ squeezed Orange juice and Apple juice might make Tropicana sit up and review its investment in this highly competitive market. Coca-Cola’s investment in this pioneering drinks company has yet to show a dramatic change in performance.

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