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What’s the betting Scotch Whisky producers slip in a price increase? The nine pence tax rise on cigarettes has made the street sellers of counterfeit and smuggled product deliriously happy. Is there any major town or city not affected by this scourge?

The Chancellor also let cider off the hook. Encouragement, we trust, for the major players to invest in sound marketing and merchandising activities. Cider is such an important category within our sector we want continuous action. Gaymers’ pound;3m investment sounds good. Strongbow is digging even deeper as part of a pound;27m multimedia campaign. Time to bring in the Shirley Bassey approach: “Hey big spenders, spend a little more with me.”

The concept of healthier eating is having a dramatic impact on sales of numerous categories. Britvic has acknowledged a decline in carbonated soft drinks and Northern Foods has highlighted a slowdown in sales of pizza and biscuits. Diet and health issues are proving more potent than we ever believed, yet this also represents a major selling opportunity – one we have yet to grasp.

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