Buyer’s Diary

monday

PM Gordon Brown is right to ask Britons to stop wasting food in an effort to help combat rising living costs.

As he travelled to the G8 summit in Japan this morning he suggested unnecessary purchases were contributing to price rises and urged people to plan their meals and store food properly. There appears to be a downside to this. If the retail food market lost 10% of its sales by the public eliminating waste, what are the trading implications for all of us?

Did we really need the Federation of Bakers to share their research to discover that children’s favorite snacks are crisps, biscuits, cakes and confectionery. We understand the healthy eating message is beginning to filter through to parents at long last but look at most lunch boxes of 6-11 year olds and what do you find? You’ve guessed it, crisps biscuits cakes and confectionery. Schools educate the children. Who educates the parents?

If France ever intends to challenge New World dominance in wine then it needs some strong brands. How refreshing then to witness the arrival of Enchante, a collaboration between Bordeaux producer Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Constellation. New French wine laws approved this year will provide producers with the freedom to challenge the New World in style and taste. Let’s hope initiatives like this will bring more brands and investment from European producers.

tuesday

The national roll-out of Gatorade was bound to increase Lucozade Sport’s marketing investment and we hope their pound;6.5m spend will lift the whole category throughout the summer.

NPD and packaging proliferation is making it harder to merchandise the sports and energy sections in store and we need to review our soft drink planograms urgently.

Tridents Sweet Kids chocolate mint gum is launched as ‘an indulgent and permissible treat’. What are Cadbury marketers trying to turn our children into? The company says it will launch more gum brands into the UK market, possibly drawing on its successes in the US and France. Remember, Cadbury, that Wrigley’s recently proved that less is more, so don’t be in too much of a rush, please.

I’ve just read an ad from Nestl eacute; saying that Drifter is back. I didn’t know it had gone. It is a frightening prospect that brand managers are now digging back into their company history in search of failed products and climb on the nostalgia band wagon. How about Palm Toffee Bars next? I always enjoyed the Banana flavour.

wednesday

We have listed McCoy’s limited edition Extreme spicy range of crisps.

With three traditional McCoy’s flavours already in the top 10 impulse crisp and snack lines there is plenty of support for the brand in our sector.

A visit to pick up some first day offers in stationery and office equipment at Lidl revealed a major flaw in its promotion delivery – it either didn’t have some items in stock or it was already sold out.

Its food and beverage ‘inflation busters’ included both Nescaf eacute; and Nescaf eacute; Gold Blend 200g at the same price, pound;3 a jar, and a drinkable Chilean white wine for just pound;2.22 a bottle. Of more concern is its Carlsberg Export offer – eight cans for pound;5.50 compared to a recent independent retail deal of eight cans for pound;7.50.

Our man at Drinksummit 2008 couldn’t wait to tell us about the group of independent retailers who addressed the conference. There are some fantastic retailers out there working with passion and commitment. I hope suppliers (and wholesalers) took note of the comments made by The Magnificent six and invest more time and energy in developing our sector.

We are unhappy to hear that the government is considering the possibility of introducing returnable deposits on beer and cider bottles. This is not good news for publicans, independent retailers or wholesalers. The prospect of having to manage the returns could well lead to refusal to stock bottled products in the first place.

thursday

The news from M S is at odds with Datamonitor’s recent report that private label food and drink brands’ will continue to grow as cash-strapped consumers increasingly perceive the products as value for money’.

Consumers are also turning to discounters big time to find value, as the lengthening queues at Aldi and Lidl checkouts bear witness.Sir Stuart sees stormy times ahead but for these operators the future does look decidedly rosy

Constellation Europe’s launch of a 4% ABV white and ros eacute; spritzer comes as a bit of a surprise. Mixing Echo Falls chardonnay with sparkling water is something one can do so easily (and more cheaply) at home, though not quite so precisely, but Spritz’s delivery of one unit of alcohol per bottle does appear to make good sense.

Are we ready for three flavours of Coca-Cola’s new ‘Full Throttle’ coffee energy drink? This one will call for a big marketing spend, advertising and tasting programme if it is going to win over its target audience, ‘Guys looking for great tasting beverage options that will give them the extra kick they need to conquer their day’.

The colourful Tropicana ‘explosive fruits’ Smoothies TV campaign is hitting some prime time viewing spots.

friday

Evian water is moving through the depot very well and its sponsorship of Wimbledon and a pound;3m spend should ensure it holds on to brand leadership for the foreseeable future.

Buxton, the official water supplier to SW20 since 2001, will no doubt be heartened by one major discounter promoting its 1.5 litre mineral water for just 39p during Wimbledon Fortnight.

While Coors will emphasise Carling’s ‘Britishness’ to maintain brand leadership in the take home market, we can expect Inbev’s 4% triple filtered Stella Artois to lean on its continental heritage as it attempts to win back market share. Big spends from both parties, but can they reverse the fall in beer consumption, now at its lowest level since 1975, according to the British Beer and Pub Association.

Birds Eye’s Great British frozen ready meals brand is well presented and we will trial a number of products from this new range. TNS data shows that frozen food sales are on the up but cabinet space in most independent retail stores severely restricts further expansion in the ready meals category.

We too are having to make some tough ranging decisions for both our retail and catering customers.

I’m not quite sure where Kraft is going with Toblerone. This countline is enjoying incredible growth right now, up by 35% according to recent trade press advertising, but will Fruit Nut and Honeycombe Crisp win new consumers or simply result in a switch sale from regular Toblerone? A pound;3.5m media spend for the brand should help.

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