October: A Chill Wind?


I absolutely love the autumn months and trade wise the early autumn saw a rebound in fortunes for many. It’s been an amazing season outdoors with the colours so vibrant after the warm spring, and summer weather motivating so much growth in trees, plants and crops. So, I’m not going to spoil things by mentioning stock piling, the ASDA takeover, COVID, Brexit or price wars this month – there is quite enough commentary on that at the moment. Instead, I’m just going to share a few lines from one of my favourite autumn poems by Emily Bronte:

Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;

Lengthen night and shorten day;

Every leaf speaks bliss to me

Fluttering from the autumn tree.

There is a lot of chatter about Christmas at the moment– the ‘less is better’ argument is in full force.

The logic is that as the restrictions grow and the social groups shrink, consumers will react by trading up on wine, groceries and indulgence lines, boosting the premium end of retail and fine food. I’m almost persuaded but I feel the chill economic winds will also boost sales at the good tier – the trade may see a more polarised picture of growth at the top and the bottom of the market. If foodservice is restricted, however, many such nuances could be lost in the race for availability: ‘just get me a turkey, any turkey, oh and a vegan loaf’. It’s entirely possible that for some retailers like for likes sales will be off the charts – if the supply chain holds up, of course.

The big news from us this month is that we welcome another new recruit, Danni Jordan.

Danni is our third Psychology graduate in the team and is a part time radio show host, Portuguese speaker and all-round extrovert. She runs the HRA Consumer Panel, our almost 1,000 strong UK database of shoppers that power our food, health and beauty research projects. She is also supporting Roseanna on our Commercial projects. Most importantly, she’s got a wicked sense of humour, is wise before her years and is great fun to work with. So, if you see her on any projects, do say hello. Read a short ‘Welcome Danni’ Q&A.

Danni also runs the HRA Expert panel…

We are always looking for food, drink, health and beauty professionals to join, so please take a look at our FMCG Research Expert Panel page. The projects are varied, won’t conflict with your day job and are a lot of fun to be involved with.

The Grocery Insider Podcast: The end of Season 2

Lastly, given her broadcast radio background, Danni runs the Grocery Insider Podcast with me – we’ve got some cracking episodes lined up on the link between sleep and food, the ASDA takeover and traceability. We run the podcast for fun and to learn more about this ever changing, lovable and frustrating market known as FMCG!

Having wrapped up Season 2 last month, we’ve reminisced over some of the most popular shows of the last 6 months; replacing Retail Buyers with Artificial Intelligence ‘bots’, Supply Chain optimisation, the future of nutritional supplements, British wine, On Trade wine and changes in Category Management.  To wet your appetite for Season 3 (coming soon), you can listen back to all 20 episodes of the Grocery Insider.

Keep the feedback coming

Do keep leaving your comments on the articles and reviews of the podcast – we really do read them all and we love to have feedback on the areas of FMCG that we write about. Alternatively, contact us if you want to start up a conversation.

Stay safe and until next month,

Hamish.

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