LATESTPOSTS

The Year of the Underdog

Posted: 03/05/2016

It looks like it’s becoming the year of the underdog in sport with virtual unknown, Danny Willett, winning the US Masters Golf and Leicester just clinching the Football Premier League with odds at the beginning of the season of 5000-1.  Many are wishing they had a bet last August, but most are just glad that a team without huge spending power as beaten a load of teams that have spent more on one player than Leicester have on their entire squad.  And that’s me included as a Manchester United fan. (more…)

Understanding the Millennials Part 2

Posted: 26/04/2016

If you have read previous posts, you will know that I have spent some time recently trying to work out what makes “millennials” tick both in terms of working out consumer trends but also in terms of harnessing their energy and know-how as an employer.  The topic seems to suddenly be trending as books are being released and the subject is on the timetable at the Food and Drink Expo next week.  I was actually one of the panellists but got dropped in place of someone famous, but possibly with less knowledge on the subject!
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Living Wage - Stop Moaning

Posted: 06/04/2016

It seems that every magazine that lands on my desk has an article by retailers moaning about having to pay their staff the new living wage that came in on 1st April.   Do bear in mind that this is a lower contrived government figure of £7.20.  The actual living wage based on proper research by the Living Wage Foundation is £8.25 for the UK and £9.40 in London. This true Living Wage is reviewed each year by independent academics and announced each year in November.  So employers kicking and screaming now at a rate that is £1.05 below the true living wage for the UK and £2.20 too low in London annoys me and various other decent employers. (more…)

Gourmet Africa

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Gourmet Africa is the most authentic range of flavours to come from the exciting continent of Africa. These unique products are creating a food revolution from Africa by forging a brand new culinary frontier set to colonise the world of food.

The Gourmet Africa range will be available from April 2015. Taste the range of African BBQ sauces for yourself by visiting the Cotswold Fayre pavilion, stand R90G at the Farm Shop & Deli Show, NEC Birmingham, 20-22 April 2015.

Gourmet Africa

MILLENNIAL ENERGY

I don’t just think it’s because I am getting older (just having celebrated a very large birthday), but I am sure there is a much higher number of younger people in the speciality food sector these days.  It could well be a case of “don’t  the policemen look young these days?” but I don’t think so.

For many years the mainstay of the industry has been, for example, bankers coming out of the city to open a delicatessen or indeed policemen taking early retirement to start producing adult soft drinks.  Amusingly, they have sometimes found gambling on the stock-market considerably less taxing than running their own business.  However, I digress!  (more…)

MILLENNIAL ENERGY

Retail Trends - February 2016

This is always my favourite time of year for two reasons. Firstly, we launch our new brands for 2016, and this year we did that through 5 launch events throughout the UK. In addition to that is “show time” so lots of opportunity to see what new products we might look at later this year or for 2017. Yes, the planning never stops! (more…)

Retail Trends - February 2016

Trade Shows

img_4859Wow, that was quite a tough few weeks.  I have been up and down the land with our 2016 Launch Events together with our 40 new suppliers for 2016.  Chuck in Scotland’s Speciality Food Show for 4 days and the annual trip to Cologne for 3 days and my feet haven’t touched the ground.  All in all though a great start to the year.  Our new suppliers were absolute legends, some of them travelling a lot further than me in order to be at these events.  Generally they hailed the shows as a great success as you simply can’t beat putting food and drink in the buyer’s minds in order to gain a sale.  It does, of course, help that we have some very high quality new lines!

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Trade Shows

Consolidation

It seems that the larger speciality food retailers are waking up to the fact that consolidation of supply is the only way forward in the sector.  I am encouraged by three conversations I have had recently with large retailers suggest that they are waking up to the fact that the way to efficient retail is to reduce their number of suppliers by consolidation by using wholesalers.

Two of these were with garden centre groups, one who had just under 200 food suppliers and one with just over 200 suppliers, and are both taking active steps to find a way of buying the same number of products with fewer suppliers.  They were both previously inundated with work simply due to the number of suppliers needing orders, making deliveries and paying for those deliveries.  The manpower required for this number of suppliers was driving them to inefficiency. (more…)

Consolidation

What do people need?

By the time you read this, someone will be £60 Million richer as the winner of the largest jackpot ever in the National Lottery.  I never play myself, but even I just tried to put an entry in on-line but their website has crashed as National Lottery Fever grips the nation.  Despite odds of 45 Million to one, people seem to think they might be “the one” this time.  Most people have never won more than £10 and I have just calculated that the money I have saved by not spending £4 a week since the lottery started is nearly £4,500 – the cost of a very nice holiday in the Tropics!

By all means, continue to play if you must, but you may be better off giving away half the money you spend on the lottery and saving up the rest to spend on a holiday.  Would you really want all that money anyway?  The happiest previous lottery winners in the UK seem to be those that have given much of it away.  One lady gave much of her winnings to help miners who had recently been made redundant. (more…)

What do people need?

Reflections on 2015

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“Nearly there!” we all cry.  Just over another week to go before we can all put our feet up and relax for a couple of days, or a couple of weeks in some cases.  Even if we wanted to stay open between Christmas and New Year we couldn’t as none of our suppliers are able to deliver to us, so we would simply end up with an empty warehouse in the New Year.  So we have always taken the opportunity to close down completely and give everyone a decent break, so they come back fired up in January.

This time of year is often one of reflecting on the past 12 months and deciding what to take forward into 2016.  As always I count it as a privilege to do what I do which involves travelling throughout the UK and beyond and meet lots of interesting people.  This year started for me at the furthest point north on the European land mass in complete darkness for a week driving huskies, riding a snowmobile and staying in a snow hotel – possibly not quite what my wife had in mind for our honeymoon but great fun all the same. (more…)

Reflections on 2015

Paul Visits Bala

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I sometimes wonder about the different motivations behind people who start their own businesses.  These drivers of the economy, who, combined, employ more people than the multi-national companies in the UK, sometimes end up running businesses for very different reasons.  There are those that are purely in it for profit, and aim to have a great lifestyle, and then live on the proceeds of a sale later on.  There are some who simply have had enough of working for others and want to be in control of their own destiny.  There are those that have an idea or product that they are so passionate about, their ‘raison d’etre’ is to be evangelistic and “convert” others to their product or idea.  Finally, but not exhaustively, there are those that think of it all as a game that they must win – these are the ultra-competitive ones, and must win at all costs. (more…)

Paul Visits Bala