buyer’s diary

== Monday ==

The Grocer wasn’t in the mail on Saturday or this morning. That’s a bad start to the week. I do like to know what’s going on.

Experts say that Government reforms over product placement could raise up to pound;100m a year. Commercial TV programme makers claim this will lead to better funded content which can only be good for viewers. Did I yawn just then?

But think again. TV ads mustn’t include anything that is high in fat, salt or sugar. Alcohol and tobacco are out of the question. There are issues with health, nutrition and medicinal products. Add children’s confectionery, food and drink products using licensed characters and a plethora of other advertising restrictions and the watershed.

It looks like the ‘soaps’ will be moving out of the pub and into the kitchen and bathroom to maximise revenue in future. So it’s baked beans, dog food, toilet rolls and soap powder then. Where will the money come from? Hopefully not out of our pot.

It appears the German’s are unhappy about the quality of Heinz Gebackene Bohnen, that’s Baked Beanz to you and me. Allegedly, the product has a lower bean count, paler colour and thinner sauce – a bit like own brand, then. What an opportunity for Crosse Schwarzwell to cash in.

== Tuesday ==

Sainsbury’s 50p ‘better than half price a 440ml can’ deal on Carling Black label advertised in a quality daily paper will do little to help the ‘Responsible Retailing’ campaign that is surely needed if we are to avoid government interference.

In the same paper Ryanair features a foaming tankard of lager to promote one way fights to German cities hosting the annual Oktoberfest beer festivals – for the equivalent price of two cans of Carling.

British Food Fortnight is one autumn event we let slip away. We gather major supermarkets ran special British promotions, although I must say it was very low key in the stores I visited. Our own contribution was pretty dismal – as usual – and I gather we missed out on National Cup Cake week, too.

Current consumer advertising for Green and Black’s Organic chocolate is helping to lift sales right across the range. This is a high value and profitable sale for an independent store and is rapidly becoming a ‘must stock’ line although we are disturbed by erratic multiple retail pricing, from pound;1.16 to pound;1.87 (The Grocer, 19 September) for a 100g bar.

== Wednesday ==

Wetherspoon’s pubs is promoting Tuborg and Carlsberg Danish lagers for pound;2.45/ pound;2.49 a pint. Hardy’s Australian varietal wines are advertised at pound;5.99 a bottle, the same price as my local Spar.

No, I haven’t missed a 1 after the pound; sign. It is doing something to please its customers, increase traffic flow and build its reputation for offering great value for money. Most of us are aware of the huge mark-up on wines in restaurants and pubs, often in excess of 300%. Wetherspoon’s has always provided amazing value for money – it’s a great way to build business. Why don’t other pubs follow suit?

Does any on-line retailer work as hard as Ocado to attract new business? Today I can get 20% off a pound;60-plus purchase and this is in addition to the Tesco Price Match offer.

The time limit Coca-Cola set for entry to win Free World Cup soccer tickets was far too tight. Retail trade press advertising gives a closing date of 30th September and a lot of soccer fans are going to be upset when they read the small print and realise they have missed the boat.

== Thursday ==

We now have two major events in 2010 to focus on.

England’s World Cup qualification for South Africa means a lot to all of us in the precarious business of cash and carry. It promises to be one our biggest bonanzas for a long time.

I do feel sorry for Scotland (sob, sob) having to support England’s various opponents in what we trust will be a very long and successful run in the tournament.

What the General Election might bring us besides a new government is less clear. We’ll stock up on facial tissues.

I’m not sure whether I’d want a picture of Gordon Ramsey staring at me from a pasta sauce bottle, but I admire the charitable nature of his ‘Seriously Good’ Comic Relief contribution.

Soups have got all the more interesting with Marco Pierre White (another chef I wouldn’t want in my kitchen) coming out with a taste-bud tempting Toulouse sausage and bean cassoulet.

== Friday ==

The Daily Telegraph’s insert, ‘The Friday, a G T Production’ is brilliant. I admire Diageo for the execution of this very creative campaign to promote an iconic brand like Gordon’s Gin, and in such a responsible manner, too.

I think pound;5 for a 1.1kg tin of Quality Street is really good value at this time of year. Morrison’s has added to this pre-Christmas ‘indulgence’ purchase by placing ‘golden tickets’, worth pound;550 in store vouchers, into 20 of the tins, hoping to create a Willy Wonka reaction.

So Colman’s English mustard is not ‘cutting it’ like it used to. Why not move production of this classic condiment to Holland, the home of HP ‘England’s finest brown sauce’ for a change of fortune, or go for a product placement spot on News at Ten.

My local store still hasn’t got the limited edition of Mars Dark in stock. Surely his wholesaler has told him this is a must stock line.

The retailer doesn’t use cash and carry, else he would surely have seen our very effective ‘Do it in the dark’ rack end display.

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