There is a chill in the air. Storm clouds are gathering.

There is a cold blast coming in from the east. Snow has arrived today! Hooray. Just what is needed to get people into their local independent store.

Just seven minutes to midnight and a Haribo children’s confectionery ad hits my TV screen. Cheaper rates at this time of night – or a way to persuade parents that a Starmix bag can be shared with the kids?

We have much to lose by any slow down in the foodservice arena. Eating habits are changing and we urgently need to look and learn about yet another market in transition. It’s not all gloom and doom. In fast food McDonald’s UK are boasting double-digit sales increases and plan to open 20 new outlets and Domino’s Pizza chain recorded an 18% increase last year. The Subway sandwich franchise plan a further 600 Stores in the UK and Ireland and Gregg’s Bakery lunchtime snack business is booming.

People are, however, prepared to sacrifice their skinny lattes and hot chocolate resulting in a downturn of trade and closures for Starbucks.

Pernod Ricard is clearly out to arrest Hardy’s brand leadership with the launch of six new Jacob’s Creek Aussie wines. It’s good the emphasis is on new varietals rather than sub branding the same liquids at different price points as other leading brands have done

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