Archive for 'Old Blighty'

You Know The World Is Upside Down When (I)

A newspaper thinks it needs to operate an online garden centre.

Guardian garden centre

Not a belated April Fool’s day Joke but the website of the virtual garden centre operated by The Guardian newspaper in the UK. If nothing else it confirms that being a champion in an existing consumer channel offers little protection from operators emerging from entirely different channels looking  for new ways to generate income  – because they can!

How Do I Get My Product On The Supermarket Shelf?

guardianMasterclasses are something I immediately associate with food and TV. We can thank Masterchef for that. And the Guardian is a British newspaper. What should I make of those two terms strung together though? The short answer is – anything is possible in a day and age when entertainment by bite size is the norm and the print media resembles a dinosaur and is desperately trying to reinvent itself. The Guardian seems to have determined that it has a role to play in business education way beyond having the latest crop of bowler hatted gentlemen study its financial pages. Which is why it runs a Masterclass dedicated to getting new products, presumably including new produce items, on the supermarket shelf. Details can be found here. If that thought does not appeal, how about waiting for the Walmart “Get On The Shelf” contest to come around again? From time to time, Walmart invites “inventors, tinkerers, thinkers, marketers and everyday Joes” to submit their ideas for scrutiny. BeatlesAnything seems to go these days, as traditional channels of getting business done are reduced to direct contact between wacky inventors and grocery giants and newspapers move into the adult education business. Not that there is much space on those supermarket shelves. Ever since supermarkets decided that their own name belongs on those shelves as well via their house brand and private label product ranges, it tends to be getting pretty crowded on those shelves, with a distinct limit to how many “me too” brands are required. Consumers should welcome that as it narrows the selection typically down to the premium FMCG brand, the retailer’s product and one of the second tier suppliers, just for good measure. Unless, of course, the retailer has a budget line as well as a premium label  he wants to make available. Three is already a crowd. Four becomes a mob – and unmanageable. Luckily, we don’t get to see those positioning exercises too often in the fresh produce area. For now at least, anyway. I seem to recall that supermarket product ranging trends tend to start in the centre grocery aisles before they spread to the perishable departments at the edge of the store. Oh well, The Guardian class starts on Saturday. If you hop on a plane tonight, you will get to the UK on time!

Alternatively – talk to us.

How To Defend Yourself Against A Fresh Fruit Attack…

John Cleese

John Cleese

People of my generation and in possession of a certain sense of humour will recognise the title of this entry straight away. The rest of you who were either born after 1970 or have yet to be exposed to Monty Python style humour which I freely admit is excentric to say the least, don’t know what you are missing. Be that as it may, I was working on our company’s social media strategy earlier this week, when I came across an article entitled “Instagram under attack from fruit wielding spammers”. Naturally, John Cleese and his merry band of men immediately came to mind. Hadn’t anyone at Instagram heard about how to respond when being attacked by a piece of fruit? So I went looking on YouTube and sure enough, I was able to locate  the memorable Monty Python clip without trouble. A great Friday afternoon pick-me-up, I suggest, as you prepare for the weekend.

On a more serious note, fruit can actually ‘attack’ you. Have a look at this article when you get a chance.  It describes how organic berryfruit was linked to a Hepatitis A outbreak in the USA last year, impacting on 49 people across 7 states and hospitalising 11.

“Fruit attacks” are entirely plausible. It is just highly unlikely that the attack will follow the Monty Python route. The opposite will be the case.  Silent and without much ado. If you want to see how John Cleese dealt with the fruit attacks, please watch the video clip.  To reduce your exposure to the more silent approach, I would suggest you revisit  your food safety policy. And you know where to come if you need help with that.

Ready for Check-In?

MarksSpencerBlogGround level Gatwick Airport, London, and British Food Retailing at its best. At first glance, nother else than yet another Marks & Spencer store. On closer inspection, I found that the only way I could buy fresh food was packaged…with the rules of the British Airport Authority and the Discount Airlines which allow travellers to consume their own food on board already taken into consideration. The ultimate in consumer convenience. Anyone can slap a store into an airport precinct. But this is something else altogether. What’s more, the food on offer was appetising, diverse in its offer and presented in such a way that I did not care about price.

England Leads The Way…Yet Again

England has always been the place to go.  Whether it is for a Kiwi’s OE, whether it is to get a sense of empire (yeah right) or whether its for thereal ale…. The global supermarket industry always had a fourth reason to go to England…that’s where the new trends emerge. Tesco, Sainsbury, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose are the acknowledged trendsetters in that industry.

therell alway be an england

Yes, Walmart is a big beast and the Yanks have invented scale and upsizing…but they are not so shit hot lag behind a bit when it comes to developing new trends. The latest trend coming out of the UK is that big is no longer necessarily beautiful.  The Observer recently carried a very intelligent piece on the future of brick and mortar supermarketing.  Well worth a read. Our English cousins haven’t quite reached Fritz Schumacher’s 1973 economic masterpiece,  “Small is Beautiful- a study of economics as if people mattered” yet; but hey, an acknowledgement that the whole supermarket model might need rethinking should not be sneezed at either.