SLR February 2022 edition

Page 1



Dark stores a growing threat


Growing chain seeks stores





David’s Kitchen data project


Spar Scotland live tradeshow back

Falkirk retailer Anand Cheema moves to new symbol group.

SLR Products of the Year 2021 – shortlist revealed! p30



The Scottish Retail Food & Drink Awards 2022









February 2022


Contents ISSUE 226


Pandemic Covid restrictions in Scotland ease in recent weeks, with home working now being phased out. p5 Business costs The NFRN calls for protection for small firms against soaring costs. p6 Property Demand for convenience stores remained at an all-time high and continued to outstrip supply in 2021. p8 Inflation Price rises expected to pick up speed in 2022, as annual inflation climbs to 0.8% in December. p10 News Extra Digital Connectivity More than half of under30s think their local c-store has no digital technology. p16 Product News Ferrero refreshes its Easter range while Mondelez kicks-off its biggest-ever Cadbury FC promo. p18 Off-Trade News Jam Shed unveils a new Chilean Merlot and Chivas Regal targets go-getters.







INSIDE BUSINESS p20 Dark Stores The advent of ‘dark stores’ presents new challenges and major concerns for local retailers. p22 Store Profile SLR visits Durham for a look at Booker’s new format that offers “the best of Premier in a smaller store”. p25 Interview Harris Aslam Fife-based Eros Retail has its sights on growing its business this year and is looking to expand its team and work with suppliers to drive sales. p26 Trade Events Spar Scotland’s annual tradeshow will return in face-to-face format in Aviemore in September. p29 Hybrid Retailing The David’s Kitchen chain partners with data and digital experts TWC to examine further avenues of growth for the retail/foodservice hybrid business. p30 Product of the Year Awards 2021 The votes are in and the shortlist is revealed for the very first time. p34 Wholesale An additional £15m of support funding is being made available to the wholesale sector in Scotland. p36 Symbol Spotlight Nisa The Co-op-owned symbol group enjoyed a fantastic and award-winning 2021 and plans to build on that in 2022. p40 Hotlines The latest new products and media campaigns. p54 Under The Counter There’s nothing UTC likes better than a good Burns scupper. Yes, that’s scupper. FEATURES p42 Tobacco Consumer demand for greater value for money within the £14bn tobacco category has never been so great. p50 Soft Drinks The soft drinks category is gearing up for a mocktail of challenges in 2022. p52 Forecourts With Covid-19 still prevalent, retailers are being urged to help customers avoid cross-contamination and infection by offering hand-protection solutions at the pump. ON THE COVER p14 Award-winning retailer Anand Cheema joins Costcutter in a major coup for the Bestway-owned symbol group.



News PANDEMIC Home working starts to be phased out as case numbers fall

Scottish retailers make New Year Honours list Hardip Atwal, who runs Atwal

Covid regulations eased

convenience store in Annan was awarded the British Empire Medal for charitable services. Dumfries & Galloway-based Debbie Murdoch, who until last year ran Balmaclellan Store, was awarded the BEM for services to the community. As were Lynsey Cargill and Helen Ramsey, the mother and daughter team behind the Ancrum Pantry, Roxburghshire.

SLR publisher wins GroceryAid award SLR’s parent company, 55 North, has been awarded a Gold GroceryAid Award. The gong recognises 55 North’s support of the trade charity during the past 12 months. The company participated in eight activities across all three the charity’s critical pillars: awareness, fundraising and volunteering. GroceryAid recognised a record 305 organisations for 2021.

Government urged to use PO’s voucher service Post Office is urging the government, local councils and energy companies to make use of its ‘Payout’ voucher service that enables customers to redeem Warm Home Discounts or receive other cash grants at their local branch. ‘Payout’ is a one-time voucher-based transaction. The voucher is sent by SMS text, email or letter and customers redeem the voucher by presenting the barcode to the postmaster.

Cyclists bound for Bosnia The annual grocery, wholesale and convenience retail charity bike ride, set up by Sugro Managing Director Neil Turton and TWC Development Director Tom Fender in aid of landmine clearance charity Mines Advisory Group, will return as an overseas trip in 2022. Bike Bosnia starts in Dubrovnik on 10 June and ends in Sarajevo five days later. Email sarah.tavener@maginternational. org for more information.



Covid restrictions in Scotland have eased in recent weeks, with home working being phased out. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs at the end of January that Covid case numbers in Scotland were falling and as a result the guidance urging people to work from home in Scotland would be eased, with a hybrid system of working to be introduced. Sturgeon said: “We would not expect to see a wholesale return to

the office next week – indeed, given that the level of infection though falling remains high, a mass return at this stage is likely to set progress back. “But we know there are many benefits to both employees and employers, and to the economy as a whole, in at least a partial return to the office at this stage.” Economy Secretary, Kate Forbes, added: “We know how quickly Covid can spread and so this must

be a phased and flexible return to hybrid working, with employers and employees working together, including with their trade unions where appropriate, to decide the most effective balance of home, flexible and hybrid working.” Business groups welcomed the move, with the Scottish Chambers of Commerce saying it would help “revive our workplaces and our town and city centres, which have been hit hard by the absence of office workers”. “The First Minister has made the right decision, which will finally enable the reopening of offices and provide the freedom of choice for employees and employers to decide how and where they work,” it said in a statement. “With the green-light given by the First Minister, businesses now have the certainty to fully deploy their hybrid models which have been developed in partnership between employees and employers.”

APPOINTMENTS Co-op’s CCO replaces Ken Towle


Michael Fletcher, Co-op’s Chief Commercial Officer, has been unveiled as Nisa’s new Chief Executive after it was revealed that Ken Towle is to join Asda as Retail Director. Fletcher joined Co-op in 2013 and was part of the leadership team that helped reset the retailer’s proposition and get Co-op back on its feet. He has extensive operational experience, developing and leading commercial strategy, opening new markets, and leading integration synergy initiatives. Over the past two years, while facing into the challenges of Covid-19, Fletcher has overseen the successful deployment of the Retail Business Transformation (RBT) programme, which delivered a significant step change in the Co-op’s proposition capabilities in 2021. Fletcher led the team that acquired Nisa and helped create its new operating model, which enabled the symbol group to leverage the synergies between Co-op and Nisa – driving greater value for partners. Previously Fletcher spent 22 years at Tesco, having joined the Tesco graduation programme in 1991, and held numerous commercial roles across fresh and ambient, including delivery of value through price. Fletcher said: “I am delighted to take on the leadership of the Nisa business. I know many of the Partners and I look forward to meeting many more as we work together to make the very most of an exciting future.”

Rural shoppers are spending more in rural shops and building increasingly meaningful relationships with store owners, the ACS’ 2022 Rural Shops Report reveals. Average basket spend in rural shops climbed to £8.72 in 2021, up from £7.92 the year before, with the average basket size rising from 2.6 items to three, the report shows. Just under 20% of all rural shoppers also now claim to know their local retailers “very well” or “quite well” (32%) – both figures up on 2020. The 2022 report also highlights the increasingly active role that rural stores are playing within their communities, with 84% having engaged in community activity in 2021.

Nisa names new CEO

Spend in rural stores continues to climb


News BUSINESS COSTS Fed’s Scottish President holds crisis talks with MSPs

NFRN calls for protection for small firms against soaring costs NFRN Scottish President Ferhan Ashiq says a huge rise in overheads will force local stores out of business unless action is taken to protect them. Ferhan, who owns shops in Prestonpans and Levenhall, East Lothian, says the recent hike in energy prices, coupled with forthcoming increases in the minimum wage and associated employer contributions, will have a devastating effect on small businesses. He said: “The renewal price for my electricity contract went up from £19,500 to £45,000, and when you add on all the other extra costs it’s becoming more and more difficult to keep trading. “Other retailers have contacted me to say they have the same concerns. Businesses in general are going to start failing this year

unless something is done about energy prices.” Ferhan recently met with Scottish Labour Party leader Anas Sarwar MSP and his local MSP Martin Whitfield to explain the problems facing retailers and other small businesses. He said: “I’ve been having regular conversations with Martin Whitfield about the serious challenges we are facing, and I wanted to air my views that unless something is done, more businesses

will start to fail and eventually close. “He explained that the Scottish government has limited powers at their disposal on the issue of rising energy prices and that it is a matter reserved for Westminster. That being said, there are other avenues we can explore that may help mitigate rising costs. He suggested raising these points at the meeting with Daniel Johnson MSP on 24 February to eke out a strategy.” Ferhan said that the cost of winding businesses down could also run into the thousands. He explained: “When someone is closing down their business due to factors beyond their control, their closing expenditure should be minimalised by legislation. It adds financial burdens and mental health issues upon that particular individual.”

Economy boost Scotland’s GDP grew by 0.8% in November, according to the most recent statistics, with output back above the pre-pandemic level of February 2020 for the first time. What’s more, in the three months to November, GDP is estimated to have grown by 1.3% compared to the previous three-month period, reflecting a slight pickup in growth during the fourth quarter so far, relative to the increase of 1% in Q3.

ACS refreshes Challenge 25 campaign The Association of Convenience Stores has launched a new campaign to boost shopper awareness of the Challenge 25 policy and better support local retailers. ACS has also worked with the Retail of Alcohol Standards Group on new materials that remind customers they’re likely to be asked for proof of age if they look under 25 and are purchasing different age-restricted products.

CRIME Colleague shaken after targeted attack


Scotmid worker Spar Scotland hits the road abducted with SLR Awards win and forced to reopen store

Sustainability gains at Nisa

Police in Edinburgh are appealing for witnesses following a robbery at a store in Tollcross. At around 10.45pm on 6 January, a 24-year-old man was walking on Spey Street, having finished his shift at the Scotmid store in Leven Street at 10pm. He was then approached by two men who forced him into a blue Volkswagen Tiguan car and drove him back to the store, where they threatened him and made him open the premises. The suspects then stole a four-figure sum of cash from the store. Detective Inspector Kevin Tait, from Edinburgh Division CID, said: “We believe that this was a targeted attack and that those responsible had been following the victim prior to approaching him and forcing him to allow them entry to his place of work.”

magazines and POS are now

Spar Scotland is leveraging its success at the SLR Awards by adding an ‘SLR Symbol Group of the Year’ logo to the side of 10 of its trucks to promote its wine as the vehicles travel around Scotland making daily deliveries. The symbol group services over 350 community stores in Scotland and was hailed by the judging panel as “a very fine example of a Scottish world-class business.” SLR Publishing Director Antony Begley said: “The team at Spar Scotland have done a remarkable job with independent convenience retailing in Scotland over the last 18 months.”

Nisa Retail saved more than 175 tonnes of paper last year with the help of its supplier HH Global, which manages all Nisa’s marketing-related print requirements. All Nisa’s leaflets, produced on the same FSCaccredited paper, giving the reassurance that timber products originating from a forest are managed in a responsible and sustainable way.

Locavore opens new store Glasgow-based Locavore has opened its largest store in Edinburgh. The 6,200sq ft store, at 118-126 Dalry Road, runs on a refillable system offering pulses, grains, pastas, flours, herbs and spices, and household items. Also on offer is a peanut butter maker, milk tap, and kombucha taps. The store also features a canteen, which will be opening in the spring, with events like film Spar Scotland Marketing Manager Paula Middleton and Scottish Local Retailer’s Publishing Director Antony Begley.

screenings planned.



News PROPERTY Average prices climb by almost 6% as market booms.

EV charging partnership Motor Fuel Group has formed an electric vehicle (EV) partnership with real estate owner and manager LondonMetric Property, representing its first off-network agreement. MFG will initially build six-to-eight bay Ultra-Rapid 150kW EV charging hubs at LondonMetric’s retail locations in Birmingham, Cardiff, Coventry, Glasgow, Ipswich, and Liskeard. The hubs will offer motorists 100 miles range in approximately 10 minutes.

Nisa breaks EPoS record The number of retailers installing Nisa’s EPoS Evolution system has gone up by 26% in the past 12 months, its most successful year to date. The symbol group’s EPoS team made more than 190 sales last year and there are currently 539 Nisa sites using the Evolution system. Installations saw an uplift in the second half of last year as many Nisa partners opted to fit self-checkouts to enable customers to shop safely amid rising Covid-19 cases.

Quarter of smokers to explore smoke-free in 2022

Record demand for c-stores Demand for convenience stores remained at an all-time high and continued to outstrip supply in 2021, a new report from business property adviser Christie & Co has revealed. The company’s annual Business Outlook report – Business Outlook 2022: Adjust, Adapt, Advance – showed its retail team sold 60% more convenience stores than it did in 2020 and 70% more than 2019. Average prices increased by 5.9% year-on-year, the report also found. Over the past five years, there has been a 50% rise in the number of offers made for each business. This has accelerated in the past two years – a likely result of the heightened profile of convenience as an essential service since the pandemic started, said Christie. In addition, the report outlines Christie & Co’s market predictions, which are: Q Operational headwinds could impact trading performance – particularly for the large multiple operators. Q Large operators will continue to churn – acquiring better stores

and selling underperforming ones, providing further opportunity for independents. Q Further consolidation as supermarket brands explore how to penetrate convenience further through supply deals, franchising and perhaps further deal activity. Q Fuel retailers will likely focus on diversifying their income and develop alternative fuel offers, such as car washing and food-togo and coffee-to-go. Steve Rodell, Managing Director of Retail at Christie & Co, said: “Last

year was unexpectedly positive and these buoyant transactional volumes reflect the success of convenience in the face of uncertainty.” He added: “Retail saw winners and losers in the last year. Most retailers have benefited from increased sales because of the changes in consumer behaviour. However, rising inflation will present a number of real challenges – especially for independent operators whose infrastructure may not be so well equipped to absorb large increases in the cost of goods, utilities and wages.”

More than a quarter (26%) of UK adult smokers are likely to explore smoke-free products this year, a survey for Philip Morris reveals. The research shows that 61% of smokers said they would feel comfortable asking their local retailer for advice on what products might be right for them. Meanwhile, 58% of respondents believed they hadn’t yet found a satisfying alternative to cigarette smoking to help them quit.

PayPoint and Randox expand partnership PayPoint and Randox have expanded their partnership to let people order a Randox test online for click-and-collect at a Collect+ store. The service will be initially available in over 5,000 locations, and soon in more than 10,000 stores nationwide. In addition, consumers can now get a test immediately from over 2,500 PayPoint stores, with no need to order online.



ACCESS TO CASH Banking boss paints gloomy picture

Scottish ATM closures responding to ‘consumer demand’ The UK banking and financial sector’s boss has argued that the decisions taken by institutions to close thousands of ATMs was in response to falling consumer demand. “I do not think [it] is going to change,” UK Finance CEO David Postings told the Scottish Affairs Committee. “If anything, it will continue – at what rate it will continue, I do not know,” he added. “Cash usage is

definitely falling and it has not recovered after the pandemic.” His comments came in response to the committee’s concerns that, since 2015, a whopping 4,735 banks and building societies have closed or have had their closures scheduled. This equates to a rate of “about 54 a month”. What’s more, since 2018, more than 20% of Scotland’s free-to-use ATMs have also closed, with the impact described as “particularly acute in Scotland, because of some of the challenges of poor broadband and mobile coverage”. “A lot of the infrastructure is uneconomic,” Postings explained, but noted that the sector will work with UK cash machine network Link to “look at that particular community and decide what cash access is required, whether it is sufficient to have cashback without purchase, whether an ATM needs to be installed, or whether there is post-office counter access or, indeed, a shared bank card”.


ABSOLUT VOICES NO.1 PREMIUM VODKA* Celebrating diverse viewpoints is in our spirit and the soundwaves on our new limited edition bottle represent the powerful voices we continue to support around the globe


*Source: AC Nielsen Scantrack, Total Coverage, MAT to 11.09.21 **Source: AC Nielsen Scantrack, Total Coverage, Value Sales, MAT to 11.09.21



News INFLATION Continued cost pressures force retailers to increase prices

PayPoint posts positive third quarter sales PayPoint has posted a “positive” third quarter, with group net revenues having risen by 21.3% to £29.6m in the three months to 31 December – up from £24.4m in the same period the previous year. The company’s shopping division recorded solid growth, with revenue up by 58.5% to £14.5m compared with the previous year, partly driven by growth in the PayPoint One EPoS network.

Post Office delivers ‘resilient performance’ Post Office has reported a “resilient performance” in its latest trading statement. There were 50.5 million customer transactions during the four weeks to 26 December 2021, down just 1.7% on the same period in 2019, before the pandemic, and down only 1.5% on 2020. Total network income

Price rises likely to pick up speed in 2022 Shop Price annual inflation accelerated to 0.8% in December, up from 0.3% in November, according to the latest BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index. The data shows food inflation accelerated to 2.4% in December, up from 1.1% in November. The Index shows fresh food inflation accelerated significantly in December to 3.0%, up from 1.2% in November, which is the highest inflation rate since April 2013. Meanwhile, ambient food inflation accelerated to 1.7% in December, up from 0.9% in November, this is the highest rate of increase since March 2021. Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Food prices

were falling earlier on in 2021, but the acute labour shortages across supply chains, amongst other factors, led to the year ending with a notable increase. For example, fresh food saw the largest rate of inflation in almost a decade. Yearon-year non-food products were deflationary, but prices rose across the board on the previous month. “The trajectory for consumer prices is very clear: they will continue to rise, and at a faster rate. Retailers can no longer absorb all the cost pressures arising from more expensive transportation, labour shortages, and rising commodity and global food prices. Consumers will already be harder pressed this year, with rising energy bills, the looming hike

in national insurance, and more expensive mortgages. Government should relieve some of these costs by looking for long-term solutions for resolvable issues such as labour shortages.” Mike Watkins, Head of Retailer and Business Insight at NielsenIQ, added: “After a challenging Christmas period, consumers are facing higher energy, travel and for some mortgage costs and the underlying price inflation in retail may only make it more difficult to entice shoppers to spend in January. But it is weak consumer confidence and uncertainty around the pandemic rather than shop price inflation which will have the biggest impact on demand at the start of the year.”

for the four weeks increased by 15%, compared with the same period in 2019, to £73.8m.

Menzies restructures News wholesaler Menzies Distribution is to restructure. Under the move, a newstrade business unit has been created, with Grant Jordan, the news wholesaler’s General Manager Newstrade, becoming Managing Director. Menzies Distribution CEO Greg Michael said the restructure would let the company build on its “dedicated focus on best-in-class service and customer satisfaction for all our customers”.

Nisa reveals fresh marketing offering Nisa has launched new branding, building on 2021’s Fresh Thinking proposition. The updated branding spans all touchpoints, from POS through to digital, and is designed to help attract a new generation of shoppers to Nisa. The new concept sees retailers receiving a new-look leaflet, personalised to their stores, showcasing the services on offer.



SYMBOL GROUPS CJ Lang extends on-the-go offer

Spar Scotland partners with Calippo Slush Spar Scotland is rolling out Calippo Slush machines to its company-owned Spar stores. Calippo is the biggest refreshment impulse purchase brand; its slush offering matches all Calippo’s favourite variants, but with zero sugar, natural flavours, and free from additives. The machines will offer three flavours – strawberry, orange and lime – and cups will retail at £1.50. The rollout started on 10 January, began in Spar Scotland stores based in Aberdeenshire. Calippo Slush will be available from all Spar Scotland company-owned stores by mid-February. Stephen Brown, Head of Foodservice at Spar Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be working with Polar Krush in rolling out Calippo Slush into all CJ Lang company stores, as well as being able to offer it to our independent customers. Calippo Slush is a big brand recognised by many customers as a favourite in the frozen ice lolly market. It is not only an extension of the Calippo brand but it also delivers on quality and flavour and is compliant in all future HFSS legislation. The machines themselves have all the latest technology, ensuring that the in-store operation is seamless, with a full service offering supporting our store teams.” Michael Reid, from Polar Krush, added: “Calippo Slush will offer a lot of brand recognition and help drive sales as CJ Lang continue to focus on their food-to-go offering. We know we will see a real boost in sales for all the sites taking this product with the support from Polar Krush.”


Nisa takes Jisp’s Scan & Save tech nationwide

Nisa has begun a national roll-out of Jisp’s Augmented Reality vouchering system, Scan & Save, to retailers. The move follows a pilot, which resulted in 82,116 scans, 40,001 taps and 32,895 redemptions on Scan & Save-branded AR vouchers from September to December. Participating retailers saw a combined discount redemption value of £36,211 with more than 2,300 unique shoppers, 81% becoming repeat redeemers. Julian Fisher, Chief Executive of Jisp, said: “Our pilot achieved above and beyond what we hoped to accomplish.” James Taylor, Head of Central Operations at Nisa, added: “Scan & Save is a superb solution for any retailer looking to deliver high-end technology that is often only accessible at larger supermarket chains.”








Hovis® Granary

Hovis® Wholemeal

Omega 3 from seeds

Source of protein

High in fibre

A tasty blend of sensational seeds

Source of Vitamin B1

Naturally rich in wholemeal & made with 100% wholemeal flour

Hovis® Seed Sensations®

Selected stores. Subject to availability.

News Extra

Future of Retail | Digital Connectivity

NewsExtra THE TOBACCO CATEGORY HEATS UP – P42 RETAIL TECHNOLOGY Digital technology and skills “crucial” for small business owners

Scottish Grocers’ Federation

Convenience Matters with the SGF There is a strong sense that the Omicron variant has peaked and that both north and south of the border restrictions are being rolled back. The Scottish government has suggested that the next step may be to produce a strategy for ‘living with Covid’. As ever, there are big questions for retailers about how they should adapt to the post-Covid landscape. A key question is what does the post-Covid store actually look like: will retailers retain any of the protective and social distancing measures they have implemented so successfully? During 2022 retailers will have to begin to make serious preparations for deposit return. Inevitably, for automated take-back, DRS will mean that selling space will have to be sacrificed to make sufficient room for RVMs and storage of returned containers. There are no easy options here – it is unlikely that the return point handling fee will fully compensate for this. Will a retailer decide they have to remove a chiller, will there still be space for an ATM, will the news fixture be given up or will the amount of space devoted to fresh be reduced? The implications for manual take-back are just as important. Given how many services are currently concentrated around the checkout, over the counter take back will mean that this area will have to be reconfigured. Additionally, this will have big implications for food-to-go and maintaining food safety and hygiene. From now on, any new store being planned will have to factor in the realities of participating in DRS. This year marks a watershed moment in what the store of the past looked like and what the stores of the future will look like.



Local retailers must update tech to keep younger shoppers The Future of Retail report finds that more than half of under-30s think their local convenience store has no digital technology. Half of under 34-year-olds would like to see digital improvements at their local convenience store, new research reveals. The survey, carried out by research agency Context Consulting on behalf of Vodafone and Allwyn, as part of their Future of Retail report, found local retailers need to update their tech urgently if they are going to continue to attract younger shoppers. The poll of 2,000 people also found that 51% of respondents said they thought their local store had no digital technology. Respondents said the most common forms of digital tech being used by convenience stores were websites (19%), social media (16%), and self-service checkouts (15%). However, only 12% of customers said their local store had a mobile app or loyalty scheme and only 9% said they were aware of online collection ordering services. Justin King, member of the Allwyn Advisory Board and former Sainsbury’s Chief Executive, said: “It is clear that Covid has accelerated a shift in consumer habits towards the relative convenience of smaller local shops. However, those that are thriving are also embracing the opportunity of digital, be that through online apps and deliveries, or in-store innovations. The upside is significant – but fail to innovate and invest and you will struggle against increasing competition from a combination of dark stores, super fast delivery and ever more locally orientated big chains. Small shops must embrace their natural advantage in being nimble and dynamic.”

Nick Gliddon, Business Director at Vodafone, added: “The shift to digital during the pandemic created new opportunities for small businesses while also presenting many new challenges, especially for the convenience and local sector. A strong foundation of digital technology and skills is now more than a nice to-have, it is crucial for small business owners who want to compete and succeed now. We want to ensure small business leaders have access to the right tools and guidance to confidently navigate the digital environment.” The research does identify a small group of ‘digital innovators’ whose businesses are benefitting from the use of digital technology, including Mosi Patel, the owner of two independent convenience stores in Greater Manchester. He has invested in the development of his own app which offers delivery services and allows him to promote targeted offers to customers based on their shopping history. He also uses social media to connect with customers to ensure he is always able to deliver the best service. Following online feedback from his customers about food cooling down during delivery, he had bespoke heated plates fitted into his four fullyelectric delivery vehicles. Mosi, of Premier Heyside, said: “We will always know our communities better than the big brands, and we must not leave the use of customer-facing tech to them. I’d encourage everyone to seriously consider upgrading. It is important to make sure your shop is only one click away.”



SYMBOL STORE BATTLE MOVING UP ANOTHER NOTCH? After the frankly bizarre experiences of the last couple of pandemic-tarnished years, it’s hardly a surprise to find that the UK’s symbol groups have found themselves in an unusual position. The pandemic has turned the wholesaling world on its head with one unfathomably complex challenge after another, mostly culminating in availability problems and, consequently, disgruntled retailers. One of the most obvious aspects of the on-the-road judging for last year’s SLR Awards was the sheer volume of retailers that expressed discontentment with their current symbol group or wholesaler. That was entirely understandable but the fact remains that it was the entire industry that was under the cosh, not any particular symbol group. Yes, some groups dealt with the challenges better than others, but no symbol group or wholesaler was immune to the perfect storm of the last year or two. Covid, Brexit, CO2, the list goes on. So, it’s probably not a huge surprise that we’re seeing new battle lines form in the symbol group war of attrition. It was clear to me last year that when something resembling normal service was resumed there would be a lot of retailers looking around - and a lot of symbol groups trying to figure out exactly where they are now, and what to do next. The fallout will rumble on for a long time to come but we’re already seeing considerable flux. This issue’s cover story, for instance, features former Spar Scotland retailer Anand Cheema who has moved to Costcutter, something of a coup for the Bestway-owned group as it ramps up its charm offensive in Scotland. Meanwhile, Premier has introduced a new small store format, bringing “the best of Premier” to stores as small as 600sq ft. There are none in Scotland yet, but that will change. Indeed, Premier’s Martyn Parkinson has described small stores as “the next battleground”, which is a curious inversion of the last four or five years when most symbol groups couldn’t shed small stores fast enough. Spar Scotland continues on its wave of recent success as Colin McLean recreates the old business in a new and far more efficient and effective guise, then we have Nisa leveraging its Co-op credentials, the Co-op itself unveiling franchise stores and every other symbol group working harder than ever to attract new business. After a period of unprecedented tumult, it was always going to end up this way - but the real challenge for local retailers is to take a cold, hard, unemotional look at their business and the world around them when deciding what to do next. It’s easy to get caught up in the heat and emotion after a terrible (and highly profitable) couple of years but taking a quick, emotional decision is always risky. It’s a time for cool heads, if ever there was one. ANTONY BEGLEY, PUBLISHING DIRECTOR

EDITORIAL Publishing Director & Editor Antony Begley 0141 222 5380 | Editorial Manager David Rees Web Editor Findlay Stein 0141 222 5389 | Editorial Contributor Karen Peattie

ADVERTISING Sales & Marketing Director Helen Lyons 07575 959 915 | Advertising Manager Robert Aitken 0141 222 5302 |

DESIGN Design & Digital Manager Richard Chaudhry 0141 222 5388 |

EVENTS Events & Operations Manager Kirsty McDowall 0141 222 5383 |

CIRCULATION & SUBSCRIPTIONS Circulation Manager Cara Begley 0141 222 5381 | Scottish Local Retailer is distributed free to qualifying readers. For a registration card, call 0141 222 5381. Other readers can obtain copies by annual subscription at £50 (UK), £62 (Europe airmail), £99 (Worldwide airmail). 55 North Ltd, Waterloo Chambers, 19 Waterloo Street, Glasgow, G2 6AY Tel: 0141 22 22 100 Fax: 0141 22 22 177 Website: Twitter: DISCLAIMER The publisher cannot accept responsibility for any unsolicited material lost or damaged in the post. All text and layout is the copyright of 55 North Ltd. Nothing in this magazine may be reproduced in whole or part without the written permission of the publisher. All copyrights are recognised and used specifically for the purpose of criticism and review. Although the magazine has endevoured to ensure all information is correct at time of print, prices and availability may change. This magazine is fully independent and not affiliated in any way with the companies mentioned herein. Scottish Local Retailer is produced monthly by 55 North Ltd.

© 55 North Ltd. 2022 ISSN 1740-2409.



Cover Story

Anand Cheema


SLR Award-winning Falkirk retailer Anand Cheema, son of SGF boss Pete Cheema, has joined Costcutter in a major coup for the Bestway-owned symbol group. BY ANTONY BEGLEY




here were rumblings aplenty at the end of last year, but Falkirk retailer Anand Cheema has finally confirmed he has joined Costcutter. He actually joined the Bestway-owned symbol group in December, but the move was only made public last month – and represents a significant coup for the rejuvenated Costcutter and reflects the depths of its ambitions in Scotland.

Anand Cheema

Cover Story

The 2,900sq ft store had previously been with Spar Scotland since Anand first took it on in late 2020 at the age of just 23. Oddly enough, the store was once owned by his father Pete Cheema, now CEO of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation. Despite the intense pressure of following of his father’s footsteps with the eyes of the industry on him, Anand managed to remain highly focused and committed, and consequently has enjoyed success since day one, collecting a mantelpiece full of industry awards and seeing sales rocket under lockdown. Just like his father, however, Anand is brimming with ambition, and it is this ambition that led him to Costcutter. “I was particularly impressed by the ambition of the Bestway Group and the successful direction the business is clearly heading in,” he says in the official press release.

CHILLING OUT When SLR spoke to him, his reasons were a bit more tangible and real-world: “Yes, we had great success in the store since we opened. We had set ourselves three- to five-year weekly turnover targets and we achieved them in the first year but I’m always going to be hungry to keep growing and improving. That’s why we chose Costcutter. It’s clear that Bestway has big goals and that it’s moving in the right direction which is absolutely in line with what I’m trying to achieve in my career. “But one of the big attractions of Costcutter for me was the chilled range. Our goal when we made the move was twofold: firstly, to improve the parts of the business that we felt weren’t going as well as we wanted them to; and secondly, to make even more of the categories that we are already seeing big success in.” Anand says the depth and quality of the Costcutter fresh and chilled range was a key factor in helping him improve his chilled offer. He explains: “With access to the Co-op and Heritage ranges, Costcutter offers us the breadth of range we feel we need. The quality of the Heritage fresh range is second to none, in my opinion. “Fresh and chilled is a big part of the store but we felt that we could make a lot more of it as part of a wider aim to make the store a true destination store for the local community. We want our customers to come to the store more often and spend more when they are here. A great fresh and chilled offer will do that and while our current average basket spend is around £8.50, we feel there’s some headroom there for more growth.” To facilitate that growth, the store is being fully refitted in March – subject to Falkirk Council playing ball. The exterior Costcutter

signage and vinyls are already in place but the interior of the store will remain largely as is until the refit, allowing Anand to sell through the old range and get ready to hit the ground running once the refit is complete. “At the moment we’re just replacing like-forlike as we work our way through the existing stock but the refit will see some major changes,” he says. Among those major changes will be a doubling of space dedicated to fresh and chilled. “We’re doubling the space,” says Anand, “but we’re not doubling the range. We’re going to be doublefacing a lot of key fresh lines and ready meals to create more impact and really add emphasis to the chilled section.”

BUILDING BLOCKS While chilled is clearly a category that Anand sees as having under-performed, several areas of the store have been heading in the opposite direction. “We’re trebling the space we dedicate to wine,” he comments. “We only have a half metre of wine at the moment and sales are flying but we believe that a much bigger fixture will let us deliver huge extra growth. “Similarly, we’re doubling the space given over to alcohol in general. It’s a massively strong category in this store and sales have been huge for a long time. Dry January doesn’t seem to have had an impact!” Another highlight of the last year was keg sales and these remain a core part of the store’s offer now, as Anand says: “Kegs have been huge

for us. They dipped a little in autumn but came back even bigger in the run-up to Christmas and they haven’t slowed down, so we’ll give them a little more space to breathe and hopefully that will deliver growth too.” Another highlight of the planned refit is a new freestanding vaping island on the shopfloor. “We do about £1,500 a week in vaping products from half a metre behind the counter. The new island should help us grow that significantly.”

GROCERY U-TURN A more eyebrow-raising aspect of the refit will see a new focus on grocery. It was a category in seemingly terminal decline before the pandemic but, after a study tour to Kent, Anand believes that by growing the grocery fixture and siting it across from the meal solutions fixture, he will grow sales in both categories. “I know, I know,” he admits, “It’s a bit odd and it’s like stepping back five years in time but the trip to Kent taught us that grocery maybe hasn’t had its day. We want to become a true destination store in our community and for many people that means grocery. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.” So far, with very little changed except the fascia and some minor range tweaks, the store’s numbers are up on last January. “I wouldn’t read too much into that,” advises Anand. “There’s so much going on that it could be down to any number of factors. But one thing I can say is that profitability is up since the move. I am excited about the refit and I can’t wait to get started.” FEBRUARY 2022 | SLR




Hovis Seed Sensations – the No.1 brand within Seeds & grains category Seed Sensations Original Baked with a sensational blend of toasted brown linseeds, toasted sunflower, pumpkin, golden linseeds, millet and poppy seeds. Together they give it that lovely texture and full flavour.

Yazoo supercharges PMPs Flavoured milk brand Yazoo has overhauled its price-marked pack portfolio. Yazoo’s 1 litre bottles are available as a £1.79 PMP

Product News A SEMINAL YEAR FOR SOFT DRINKS – P50 CONFECTIONERY Ferrero gears up for the annual chocolate fest

Ferrero refreshes Easter ranges

Ferrero UK is introducing a revamped selection of its seasonal lines for Easter, including Kinder Joy, Ferrero Collection Crispy Eggs, and Thorntons Classic Egg. The miniature egg Kinder Joy is making a return. Splitting in two, one half contains layers of cocoa and milk cream, while the other contains a toy and a paper spoon. Kinder is also making packaging design improvements across its range with a more distinctive design and refreshed Easter bunny image. Kinder has also debuted a free mobile app to bring its toys to life through augmented reality. In addition, the Ferrero Collection Crispy Eggs T10 are returning in hazelnut and cocoa flavours. Also back are the Ferrero Rocher 300g and the Ferrero Rocher Boxed Egg 275g, the Ferrero Rocher Flame Egg 212g and the Grand Ferrero Rocher 125g.

Thorntons will see its range of moulded figures relaunched with two new Happy Bunny SKUs. The bunny will have a refreshed look and feel. Finally, the Thorntons Classic Easter egg range will be available in two different formats – 150g and 220g – with the larger format supporting retailers in driving trade-up opportunities.

whilst the core 400ml bottles are price-marked at £1.15, with an additional flash showing a new ‘2 for £2’ offer.

New year, new Bear Kids fruit snacking brand Bear has started the year with a new look across its Yoyos range. The refreshed packaging dials up the fun, taste and health credentials


Ready Brek and Roald Dahl team up A new partnership sees Roald Dahl’s literary characters brought to breakfast tables with the release of limited-edition Ready Brek packs. Promotional packs featuring four of the author’s biggest titles – The BFG, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and The Witches – are available from now until March. Shoppers have the chance to win Roald Dahl merchandise – with 7,500 prizes including box sets of books and crockery sets, up for grabs. Ready Brek is supporting the launch with a £100,000 shopper activity investment.

of the Bear Yoyos products to better resonate with both parents and kids.

YOGURT Brand tempts kids with stickers

Carte D’Or moves to paper Carte D’Or has transitioned its entire range from plastic tubs to responsibly sourced, recyclable paper tubs and lids. Set to save over 900 tonnes of virgin plastic in the UK annually, the move will see the brand use 93% less plastic per tub.

Frubes unveils gift-in-pack promo to drive post-Christmas sales Yogurt snack brand Frubes has unveiled a new gift-in-pack promotion offering a free Frubes sticker with each multipack SKU. The deal is aimed at children returning to school after Christmas, supported by a comprehensive marketing campaign that includes TV, video-on-demand, YouTube,

online videos on gaming platforms, in-store marketing and influencer activity expected to reach 2.9m people. The yogurt’s portable format can be kept fresh for up to eight hours out of the fridge, making it suitable for lunchboxes, on-the-go or as a top-up after school.

Over the last 52 weeks, Frubes has been growing at a rate of +5.2% in sales value, the company said.

There is a key opportunity for convenience retailers to grow their sales of pre-packaged bread, especially in the bread with seeds and grains category. Over the year to 04/12/21, this type of bread accounted for 20.5% of units sold in pre-packaged bread in supermarkets1, but only 6.6% of sales in convenience stores2. Bread with seeds and grains is important because it was the only major sector of pre-packaged bread in growth prior to the pandemic3 and whilst total sales of pre-packaged bread are down by -4.9% over the latest year4, bread with seeds and grains is the most resilient sector, with unit sales down just -1.5% year-on-year4. The leading branded product in prepackaged bread with seeds and grains is Hovis Seed Sensations 800g, which grew unit sales by +9.0% over the latest year, reaching 34.9m in total4. The average convenience store stocks 3 loaves of wholemeal bread5 but 2 loaves of bread with seeds and grains5. Wholemeal bread remains important to bread overall, with 15.9% of total sales over the latest year6, but it is in longterm decline, with unit sales down by -8.3% over the latest year4. Now is a good time for retailers to adjust the mix of what they’re selling to cater to consumers’ changing preferences: more loaves with seeds and grains as well as wholemeal loaves. Thomas Pook, National Account Manager - Convenience, Hovis









NielsenIQ Scantrack, grocery multiples, unit share of total prepackaged bread, MAT to 04/12/21 NielsenIQ Scantrack, total impulse, unit share of total pre-packaged bread, MAT to 04/12/21 NielsenIQ Scantrack, total coverage, excl. discounters, major sectors of pre-packaged bread defined as sectors with >5% unit share of total pre-packaged bread, unit sales % change vs previous year, MAT to 29/02/20 NielsenIQ Scantrack, total coverage, excl. discounters, unit sales % change vs previous year, MAT to 04/12/21 NielsenIQ Scantrack, total impulse, average number of bread SKUs stocked, MAT to 04/12/21 NielsenIQ Scantrack, total coverage, excl. discounters, unit share of total pre-packaged bread, MAT to 04/12/21



Spar launches own-label petfood range Spar has launched a new ownbrand petfood range under the Spar International label Spar N°1. The new range consists of

CONFECTIONERY Thousands of prizes are up for grabs

Mondelez kicks off biggest-ever Cadbury FC partnership

five wet cat food SKUs and five

Cadbury has kicked off a new Cadbury FC partnership for 2022 offering shoppers the chance to score a volley of football-themed prizes featuring some of the UK’s most successful clubs. The new ‘Win A Day In Their Boots’ competition allows shoppers to claim thousands of prizes – these include behind-the-scenes experiences with Arsenal, Aston Villa Women, Chelsea, Leeds United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur. Winners will get the opportunity to experience a day in the life of a

formats, while the cat food offers

football player with an exclusive behind the scenes tour of an official club training facility or stadium. Other top prizes include signed boots and VIP Matchday Experiences. Lots of instant win prizes are also available, including more than 2,000 £5 or £10 ‘Love2Shop’ vouchers, which can be spent in a host of leading well-known high street stores. Shoppers seeking to enter the prize draw must buy any promotional product from across the Cadbury range and visit to enter

the product’s batchcode and barcode. The promotion runs until 23 March 2022 across all Cadbury products in tablet, multipack, bag and singles formats, as well as Heroes. The launch of the new campaign will be supported by a marketing campaign that will reach more than 80% of UK shoppers across out-of-home and radio advertising according to Mondelez International, as well as social media and in-store PoS support. The campaign will also be supported by the 19 partner clubs.

wet dog food SKUs, which will support the current pet products in the Spar range. The range includes cans and alu-tray individual tray options, as well as pouch multipacks.

Müller targets digestive health market Müller Yogurt & Desserts has launched a multimillion pound marketing campaign to showcase Gut Glory, its new gut health yogurt brand. A new advert airs until 7 March on TV, on-demand and YouTube. To drive further trial of the big pot range, the brand is offering shoppers a ‘try me free’ offer which allows Gut Glory shoppers to receive a full refund by filling

GROCERY Pikachu pops up on packs

Batchelors pairs up with Pokémon Batchelors has kicked-off 2022 with an exclusive partnership with Pokémon, offering shoppers a raft of prizes through an on-pack promotion and campaign. The promotion launched in the same week as the Pokémon Legends: Arceus video game and comes at a time when the UK boasts the position of sixth-largest gaming market in the world. It is supported by in-store activity. The promo sees Pokémon characters feature across packaging for Batchelors Super Noodles and Pasta ‘n’ Sauce ranges, with shoppers able to win 100 prizes each week, such as Nintendo Switch Consoles, Pokémon plush, copies of the Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl games and cards from the Pokémon Trading Card Game. With 50% of gamers claiming they would opt for quick meal solutions, the partnership aims to help the brand appeal to more shoppers across more occasions. Naomi Shooman, Brand Director for quick meals, soups and snacks at Premier Foods, commented: “Our on-pack promotion will give shoppers the chance to win a range of prizes and Pokémon products set to attract new shoppers to the category.”


Irn-Bru 1901 rolls out in sleek cans Irn-Bru is launching its ‘old and unimproved’ 1901 variant in a 330ml sleek can format, available from midFebruary in outers of 12 with an RSP of £1 per can. Irn-Bru 1901 was originally launched as a limited edition in 2019 and made a permanent return to shops last year in a 750ml glass format. “As the food-to-go market continues to recover post-lockdowns, we recommend that retailers stock both formats of Irn-Bru 1901, providing choice for existing, loyal shoppers whilst driving excitement and trial with new ones,” said Adrian Troy, Marketing Director at Barr Soft Drinks. “Retailers should also make use of impactful POS to grab shoppers’ attention and encourage impulse sales of the new sleek can.”

out an online claim form.

Fruit flavours freshen up Mentos sales Mentos has reported a strong year of sales for its Mentos Pure Fresh gum range. Growth is being driven primarily by the brand’s fruit flavours (Tropical, Cherry and Bubble Fresh) with the latest Kantar data revealing nearly 40% of this increase is incremental. Recovery within the category can also be attributed to consumers returning to commuting, as more and more workers return to offices.

Soda Folk goes for growth Upmarket soft drinks brand Soda Folk has restructured its UK marketing operation as it gears up for further growth. The company has appointed former Lola’s marketing lead Marie-Claire Turbett as Head of Marketing, a new role. Along with Turbett, the company has appointed two new specialist, growth-focused marketing agencies, PR firm ArrowEye Communications and social media agency Socialgram.





Accolade unveils new wine box brand Accolade Wines has launched Vino Società, a new “premium reinvention of the Wine On Tap concept”. The carbon neutral brand rolls out with three varietals – Sauvignon Blanc, Rosato and Malbec. All are available in a 1.5 litre bag-ina-box format that keeps the contents fresh for up to six weeks after opening. Packs have a £16 RSP.

Record year for Budvar Budweiser Budvar UK has reported record sales for 2021, with a market-beating 38% volume increase. Total volumes were the equivalent of 16 million 500ml bottles of Budvar. The brand did well in the off-trade, with IRI data showing it was the number one stocked Czech beer brand in convenience and the third-fastest growing World Lager in supermarkets. On-trade sales also made a strong recovery once venues reopened in April.

NZ wine tasting pushed back by Covid The New Zealand Winegrowers’ London Annual Trade Tasting, which was due to be held on Wednesday 9 February, has been postponed to Wednesday 4 May due to the current uncertainty around Covid-19. The Lindley Hall venue remains unchanged. Virtual events for the second annual New Zealand Wine Week in February – themed ‘Bringing New Zealand to You’ – will still take place as scheduled.

Dunnet Bay gets digital boost Dunnet Bay Distillers has won a DigitalBoost Grant to contribute to the launch of a new website which will halve the carbon use of the company’s site. Other sustainability steps taken by Dunnet Bay include fully recyclable packaging for refill pouches; local sourcing and foraging of many botanicals; reuse and recycling of botanicals and other materials; and organising beach clean-ups.



Off-TradeNews GET A GRIP ON THE LATEST FORECOURT DEVELOPMENTS – P52 WINE Accolade brand extends South American portfolio

Jam Shed adds new Chilean Merlot Jam Shed is extending its portfolio with a new Chilean Merlot (RSP £7). Available now, the red wine is hoped to resonate with fans of the Accolade Wines brand, as well as bring in new, younger wine drinkers. Merlot is one of the leading red wines in the UK, and the new Jam Shed Merlot is rich and smooth with flavours of cherries, raspberry, and juicy plums. The Jam Shed brand is now worth £57.5m, growing 90% year on year following three years of triple digit growth. There are now five wines in its portfolio: Shiraz, Malbec, Chardonnay, Rosé, and Merlot. It was also the fourth most-frequently purchased wine brand in the UK off-trade last year.

Lindsay Holas, Brand Manager for Accolade Wines, said: “Merlot has long been hailed as one of the most popular wines in the UK and we’re confident this new varietal, sourced from an iconic South American wine region, will allow us to grow even further. In less than two years since launch, Jam Shed Malbec has skyrocketed to become the UK’s number two Argentine SKU, demonstrating its popularity in the South American fixture and we’re pleased to add Chilean Merlot to the collection. “Jam Shed has a big a role to play in 2022 to make the wine category clear and accessible to consumers, as well as offering fresh and innovative NPD and exciting POS.”

LIQUEURS Brand taps into surprising growth of category

Dead Man’s Fingers livens up cream liqueurs Spiced rum brand Dead Man’s Fingers is expanding into the cream liqueur category with the launch of its brand new Raspberry Rum Cream Liqueur (70cl, ABV 17%, RSP £17). Available now, this latest addition to the Dead Man’s Fingers portfolio is a smooth and velvety rum-based cream liqueur with aromas of fresh raspberries. The brand suggests drinking it neat over ice with a garnish of fresh raspberries, or mixing into a Raspberry White Russian or a Raspberry Espresso Martini. The pastel pink bottle is emblazoned with the usual Dead Man’s Fingers skull branding, bringing a point of difference to the traditionally more sedate cream liqueurs category. Rachel Adams, Global Marketing Manager for Dead Man’s Fingers Rum, commented: “The cream liqueur category continues to see phenomenal growth, and is now adding the most absolute value year-on-year to the spirits category in UK off-trade.”


Hardys makes TV comeback Accolade’s wine brand Hardys is returning to TV in March as part of a £3m marketing campaign seeking to champion its “consistency and quality”. As part of a deal with ITV, the ‘Certainty’ campaign will see Hardys’ flagship wine range showcased alongside some of the UK’s most popular TV shows. The TV campaign, the brand’s first since 2018, will also be supported by in-store activity, digital advertising, social media, and PR. Activity will also be backed by a new partnership with online learning platform Learning With Experts which will invite shoppers to leave a review of Hardys wine, via a dedicated microsite, in return for a free lesson on a subject of their choice. The promotion will be advertised on more than three million Hardys neck flags across stores from April.




Green Guinness Guinness will introduce the first zero emission vehicles into its fleet in the summer. The brand’s ambition is for 70% of the fleet to be zero emission by the end

WHISKY Successful, status driven and style-conscious whisky drinkers sought

Chivas targets go-getters with redesign

of 2025, and 100% by 2030. The

Chivas Regal has unveiled a fresh new look for its flagship blend in the biggest redesign in the brand’s 112 year history, which sees an overhaul of Chivas 12’s bottle, label, and pack. The bottle has been reshaped and elongated to stand taller and prouder while still retaining its recognisable rounded shoulders. A redesigned crest shines a light on the beating heart of Chivas – the ‘luckenbooth’, a symbol embodying the brand’s values of ambition, generosity and unapologetic success. The entire redesign was conceived with sustainability at its heart and the new bottle is lighter, saving over 1,000 tonnes of glass annually.

Society 2030: Spirit of Progress,

The new-look Chivas 12 seeks to capture the attention of a new successful, status driven and styleconscious generation of Scotch Whisky drinkers, aged 18-32 years old, who buy into new luxury. This demographic is a pool of 3.2 million

consumers not currently targeted by whisky brands, and yet 47% say ‘it’s important to spend more on alcohol when looking to impress’ and signal status, demonstrating the rich opportunity to tap into this audience. To support the bottle redesign, Chivas Regal will be focusing on celebrity and influencer endorsement, along with culturedriven collaborations and targeted digital media to drive high profile online awareness amongst target consumers. The new Chivas 12 bottles are available from major wholesalers and cash & carrys including Bestway and Booker. Chivas 12 has an RSP of £29.95 for a 70cl bottle.

move is part of Diageo’s wider 10-year sustainability action plan, which outlines the company’s commitment to delivering net zero carbon emissions across its direct operations and a reduction in indirect emissions by 50%.

Blood orange cider Cider maker Thatchers has added a new fruit flavour to its range. Thatchers Blood Orange is available from this month in 500ml bottles (RSP £2.30) and four-packs of 440ml cans (RSP £5.50). Made with Braeburn, Fuji and Gala apples, the new flavour joins the brand’s existing Cloudy Lemon variant. The launch follows research that found 95% of 18 to 39-year-old cider drinkers want to try new fruit

WINE “Something for everyone” in new range

Spar launches vegan own-label wines

Spar has made its full range of own-label wines suitable for vegans. The vegan line comprises over 70 products, including award-winning wines, and will be available across more than 1,700 licensed Spar stores across England, Scotland and Wales.

The new range includes Spar Regional Selection Languedoc Red; Spar Regional Selection South African Reserve Chenin Blanc; Spar Vine & Bloom Rosé –part of a range of three (including a white and a red), which was the first overtly vegan wine to hit shelves and has enjoyed a 54% year-on-year growth; and the Spar Prosecco Valdobbiadene DOCG. Spar is supporting the launch with digital campaigns at in-store and online points-of-sale, along with consumer PR including advertorials, influencer activity, media and celebrity outreach, expected to target five million people. Spar UK Brand Manager for Own Label Beers, Wines and Spirits, Adam Georgiou, commented: “We are confident that there is now something for everyone – whether they are vegan, flexitarian or meat eaters who just love a nice glass of wine.”


Uncle Nearest is here One of America’s best-loved whiskies, Uncle Nearest, has launched its 1884 Small Batch Whiskey this side of the pond through premium spirits distributor Mangrove UK. The launch was due to take place in 2020 but was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Mangrove will also distribute the Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey, which is due to arrive in the UK in the spring.

Maker’s Mark joins B Corp Maker’s Mark has earned B Corporation Certification, making it the largest distillery


Cù Bòcan unlocks the unusual with new Creations Cù Bòcan Single Malt has released two limited-edition expressions within its Creation series: Creation #3 matured in Moroccan Cabernet Sauvignon and North American Rye casks, and Creation #4 which has been matured in a combination of Tawny Port and Cognac casks. Cù Bòcan is available with an RSP of £45 and £60 per 70cl bottle for the original Signature expression, and Creations #3 and #4 respectively.

in the world and the first in Kentucky’s Bourbon Country to achieve the distinction, which recognises companies working to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy. It gained the certification by meeting and exceeding benchmarks across five categories: Community, Customers, Environment, Governance and Workers.



Inside Business

Dark Stores

DARK STORES, DARK DAYS? Online retailing has grown at a phenomenal rate, particularly during lockdown, but the advent of ‘dark stores’ has blurred the boundaries between internet and bricks-and-mortar shopping and presents new challenges and major concerns for local retailers. BY PROFESSOR LEIGH SPARKS


nline retailing is now close to 30 years old. It has seen an almost relentless growth over much of this period, accelerated by events such as Black Friday and Christmas, and more recently super-charged by the pandemic

and lockdown. The graph of the increasing penetration of online sales in the UK has become well known. What is meant by online or internet shopping seems to be changing though. The general understanding of online retailing is perhaps a

retailer selling by a website or app and remotely fulfilling the order from a distant distribution centre. Online giant Amazon is a classic incarnation of this, but it is a standard model across much of retailing.




Dark Stores

A second variant of online retailing uses the same starting point of an app or a website, but with the fulfilment coming from a/the local store. Tesco started with this store-based model and achieved great first mover advantages and national coverage. In some situations, and again Tesco is an example, retailers began to organise urban fulfilment from ‘dark’ stores; stores not open to the public but designed to satisfy high online demand. This gives penetration and coverage in dense urban areas, but without compromising store operations. In the pandemic we saw a major expansion of a local model of store fulfilment, with local fulfilment from local convenience stores. Indeed, it was one of the elements of the success the convenience store sector has had over the last 20 months of Covid. Services such as Snappy Shopper, Appy Shop and Jisp have emerged to help this process, and it is becoming increasingly common. This local concept has developed further such that speed of delivery has become a general focus with within 15, 30 or 60 minutes promised. Some of this can be store-based but increasingly we see a trend to local ‘darkness’ as in dark kitchens or dark convenience stores. Such “stores” offer a cut down range in small operations and focus on fast local delivery. Others are basing operations on existing stores. This market is exploding and entrants such as Getir, Gorillas, Jiffy, Zapa and Weezy are the tip of a growing iceberg. Tesco offers its Whoosh service (see also Sainsbury Chop Chop) and will conduct a trial with Gorillas using a unit within spare space in a Tesco store. With Deliveroo Hop teamed up with Morrisons and Ocado and Zoom, ultra-fast delivery is in a rapid experimentation and development phase. There are many issues in this online model, not least sustainability and environmental aspects, though these are mitigated

in a local home delivery model, especially if returning to “oldfashioned” methods such as bikes. For the large multinationals there remain tax questions. The popularity of ultra-fast delivery asks questions of society and economy – it is hard for me to shake an analogy of a immobile Queen Bee (the consumer) being serviced by hordes of worker drones (the deliveries) – which is not what I think of as community. There are concern over with “dark” operations and especially perhaps the smaller darker formats. Dark convenience stores may be on industrial or warehouse sites or possibly on car parks deemed redundant or under used. They take life and business away from neighbourhoods, communities and high streets. They are also likely to be business rated as nonretail businesses and so gain a cost advantage from this (and other operations) when compared to traditional convenience and retail sites. This is despite essentially performing the same basic function. Staffing via the gig economy will be different to physical stores. Our thinking about costs and competition, and comparisons with traditional operations, trail the business reality. This changing face of online retailing and its fulfilment raises some fundamental issues about how retailing integrates into our communities and how its services should be valued. Convenience stores are so much more than fulfilment sites; but, if we don’t think through the implications of ‘dark’ convenience fulfilment sites then we risk damaging traditional retail business to the detriment of many. Some of their advantage stems from what they offer; some is due to the reduced cost base they can get away with. Either way they need to be treated seriously.

Inside Business

“Dark stores take life and business away from neighbourhoods, communities and high streets and are likely to be business rated as nonretail businesses and so gain a cost advantage from this (and other operations) when compared to traditional convenience stores.”

Professor Leigh Sparks is Professor of Retail Studies and Deputy Principal at the University of Stirling. FEBRUARY 2022 | SLR


Inside Business

Premier Small Store Format

GOOD THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES Booker has unveiled a new flagship Premier small format store offering ‘the best of Premier in a smaller store’. SLR took a trip just over the border to Durham for a closer look. BY LIZ WELLS

“Previously the store did £8,000 sales a week on average. In the week before Christmas it did £20,000.”




he UK’s biggest symbol group has unveiled a new small format store offering which it says brings “the best of Premier” to stores of well under 1,000sq ft. The economics of supplying small stores has traditionally meant that the major symbol groups rarely treated them as a priority, leaving small store owners at a distinct disadvantage when trying to compete with larger competitor stores. This new Premier small format concept brings the might of the country’s largest symbol group to this often overlooked but still very sizeable chunk of the market. In return, retailers do not have to pay any fees to sign up for the small format but must spend a minimum of £4,000 a week with Booker. All marketing is free. The first store to see the new concept brought to life is the 600sq ft VG Foodstore in Wheatley Hill, County Durham, just south of Newcastle. It has been run by the Dhinsa family for more than 35 years and was previously independent. Brothers Steve and Jassy, who have taken over the running of the store from their parents, decided the time was right for a refit and it closed for six weeks as it took place. The new format takes the best learnings from high profile Premier retailer Mandeep Singh’s store in Sheffield, which trialled lots of new elements to attract consumers, and has won high praise from retailers. Since it launched

a year ago, almost 250 retailers have visited Mandeep’s store with the view of learning from it in some shape or form – and few have come away disappointed. It’s worth noting, however, that Mandeep’s store is 1,800sq ft and the refit cost in the region of £150,000 to £175,000. Martyn Parkinson, Booker Sales Director – Retail, said: “We found retailers wanted to replicate it but in a smaller store. So we worked on how to get the best bits into a smaller space. That was a real challenge. “Luckily Steve and Jassy were looking to have a refit, they had visited Mandeep’s store, and asked us to implement whatever we could from Mandeep’s into their store.”

SMALL WITH STYLE The small format store has a simple fascia that features the opening times and the services offered by the store, such as Post Office, Lottery and PayPoint, because services are currently playing a huge part in driving footfall. It has clear windows, to let light in, but also shoppers feel safer if they can see in and out. Outside posters advertise Premier’s ‘mega’ and ‘wow’ deals, sandwich deal, and other footfall drivers. Premier says it is trying to keep the number of deals advertised outside down and focus on key footfall drivers to make the most effective possible use of the limited space available. The store also features Refresh@Premier, a dedicated food- and drink-to-go area which

Premier Small Store Format

includes fwip, Hersey’s Freeze, Jolly Rancher Slush, and Douwe Egberts coffee. This section helps attract a younger demographic and the section takes up to £1,600 a week, attracting people from neighbouring villages, at margins of 65%.

CHILL OUT The biggest transformation for the store was its chilled solution. Despite being just 600sq ft, it now has a total of 5m of long-life chill. The brothers were keen to introduce more chilled but were put off by the challenges of managing wastage in a short shelf-life category. However, through Booker, they have gained access to 330 lines of long-life chill – a very expansive offering for such a small store. Unsurprisingly, chill sales have grown from £200 to £3,000 a week and the section attracts more new customers than anywhere else in-store. The shop’s soft drinks section is probably the busiest cabinet. Around 20% of the range was taken out and replaced with on-trends and American lines. The store now chills larger bottles, popular with workers and youngsters for immediate consumption, and multipacks – a growing trend. The refit has also seen the store’s frozen offering grow. Previously it had one small freezer, and now the retailers are seeing huge category growth. In the impulse aisle, small bags were removed – reducing the range by one-third – because bigger bags increase basket spend. In addition, Booker aims to keep items in shelf-ready packaging, so retailers only have touch stock once and replenishment is efficient. “We are really conscious that the retailers are saying ‘keep it efficient, don’t add any complexity’ because labour is expensive and it’s quite difficult to recruit,” said Parkinson. The impulse aisle also features American confectionery and multipacks, which offer greater value than singles. In addition, Parkinson said Booker is trying to encourage Premier retailers to work with local bakeries, butchers, and breweries.

a standing start, the category is currently taking £2,300 a week at 45% margin. Medicines were brought out from behind the counter to beside the till. Staff can still keep an eye on them, but sales have increased 50% because customers no longer need to discuss their ailments. Meanwhile, the store still features newspapers, magazines, and greetings cards so it keeps its CTN identity. The retailers talk regularly to customers about the range and if they feel something is missing they will bring it back. For example, the pet food range was recently extended to include treats and bird food. Recent feedback suggests more greeting cards need to be added. The result? Previously the store did £8,000 sales a week on average. In the week before Christmas it did £20,000. Looking ahead, Steve and Jassy are thinking about introducing home delivery and have already bought an empty unit next door for storage and picking purposes. Steve said: “The format is brilliant – other retailers have been surprised at the range we stock.” He added: “My advice to other retailers is 100% do this – I should’ve done it before. Everyone at Booker believed in us and gave us the best help.”

Inside Business

“Through Booker the store has gained access to 330 lines of longlife chill, and chill sales have grown from £200 to £3,000 a week; the section attracts more new customers than anywhere else in-store.”

IN THE SPIRIT The store’s spirits are backlit to increase stand out and the offer includes fractionals. “We are definitely seeing a switch in January to value in halves and quarters,” Parkinson added. The store also features chilled alcohol multipacks – a point of difference from the multiples. Also new to the store is 1m of vaping. From





AS A RAPIDLY GROWING CHAIN OF CONVENIENCE STORES, WE ARE CONSTANTLY LOOKING FOR NEW SITES. If you own a site, store or group of stores that fit the below criteria and you are considering a sale, then please contact us for a confidential and swift discussion

WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR Freehold and Leasehold sites considered (with additional premium for freehold sites) Goodwill premium paid for existing trading convenience stores throughout Scotland (ideally trading at 20k per week + excluding services) All sites must be a minimum of 2000 Sq. Ft. retail space (no maximum) All existing property / store (trading and vacant units) conditions considered Locations throughout Scotland considered

RAPID DECISION & COMPLETION AVAILABLE! For a discreet & confidential no obligations discussion - please send details to or call on 07791174697

*terms and conditions apply

Eros Retail Interview

Inside Business

EROS ON THE LOOK OUT FOR STORES Fife-based Eros Retail has its sights on growing its business this year and is looking to expand its team and work with suppliers to drive sales. BY LIZ WELLS


eaded up by ambitious and well-known retailer Harris Aslam, Fife-based Eros Retail has a long history of growth and evolution, and Harris has set his sights on continuing to grow its business this year, backed by an expanded team and committed to working with suppliers to drive sales. Eros opened one store in August, one in September, and one in November last year, and has another four sites that it is looking at opening by this May. Harris is continuing to focus on store acquisitions and is interested in talking to existing independent retailers that are looking at selling, retiring, or moving on. The retailer is open to all locations and demographics. Eros currently has a concentration of stores in Fife, Aberdeenshire, and one in Perth and Kinross. However, the stores it is set to open in the coming months are across the length and breadth of Scotland. Harris says: “We’ve got stores in the middle of council estates, in village locations, and have operated high street stores before, so we are completely open in that regard.” In terms of square footage, the retailer is looking for a minimum of 2,000sq ft sales area, because anything below that is usually a struggle to make it work, but Harris says he will look at smaller stores if they are doing the right numbers. “For existing stores, they really need to be doing £20k a week plus, and if it’s not it’s fine as long as it has the potential to significantly grow the sales,” says Harris. He adds: “There is a much higher demand for convenience stores, but we can move as quickly or as slowly as sellers want us to, we’ve got a confidential and discreet way of dealing with things as well. This allows us to perhaps work with sellers that wouldn’t otherwise be looking at going on the open market.” In addition, the company opened a franchise store in December 2019, with a third party operating it, and wants to take the proposition to the market. “The reason we haven’t shouted about it is because it was a trial, but the feedback from that has gone very well,” says Harris.

“There have been quite a few learnings but on the whole Greens is a brand that is starting to become recognisable in Scotland and that is something we want to open up as quickly and swiftly as possible, while growing our company-owned estate.” The retailer also has store managerial, store team, and head office positions available. “There is quite a lot going on, but we need to build up the team, to help take the business forward,” Harris says. He adds: “Eros Retail is growing significantly, despite challenges to the sector, and is keen to continue to keep growing. We need to grow our team and would fully welcome anybody that is considering a career move, or starting off in retail in a management capacity at store level or head office level, to reach out and engage with us.” The company is also looking to work with suppliers to collaboratively try and find ways to drive sales. Harris explains: “We’ve has a couple of years when we haven’t had many new supplier relations because everyone’s been focused on keeping toilet paper on the shelves. “We’ve started to pick up conversation with manufacturers to see how we can work with them and drive individual category sales.” To summarise, Harris says: “Eros stared trading in 2014 and at the time I made a few bold statements, and the growth absolutely came. There have been a lot of learnings in the process, so growth has been slightly slower than I would have liked it to be, but it’s still very healthy sustainable growth over the almost eight years we’ve been trading. “We have been on a journey, we have achieved a lot, and there’s nothing to stop us looking at many, many, more sites. There isn’t an ideal number – it’s full steam ahead for us really.” FEBRUARY 2022 | SLR


Inside Business

Spar Scotland Tradeshow

SPAR SCOTLAND TRADESHOW SET FOR AVIEMORE Spar Scotland wholesaler and retailer CJ Lang has announced that its annual tradeshow will return in face-to-face format in Aviemore in September.


J Lang & Son, the resurgent Scottish wholesaler and Spar convenience retailer, has announced details of its upcoming 2022 tradeshow – and the event will return to a live format after two years being held virtually. Taking place in Aviemore and the Cairngorms National Park, the event will be held at the MacDonald Hotel and Resort on Thursday 22 September 2022. Spar Scotland expects more than 700 delegates to attend, and the event is set to be one of the biggest local retailing events to take place in Scotland this year. Colin McLean, Spar Scotland CEO, said: “Our 2022 tradeshow will be a great opportunity to engage once again with a live audience. We will have over 180 national and Scottish suppliers turn their stands into

exciting showcases for their products. By taking part in our tradeshow, our suppliers will be able to bring their innovative products to the attention of the largest group of independent retailers to visit a tradeshow in Scotland. “We are looking forward to welcoming our estate of independent Spar retailers and company-owned staff, key personnel from Spar Scotland, Spar UK and Spar International, to what promises to be a sellout event.” Suppliers already signed up for the event include Brewdog, Jul, Imperial Tobacco, Ferrero, Kelloggs, Muller and Hovis. For details on how to attend please call CJ Lang on 01382 512000 and speak to the Spar Scotland delegates Tradeshow team.

700+ 180


22 September 2022, Aviemore 26


Retail/Foodservice Hybrid | David’s Kitchen

Inside Business

DAVID’S KITCHEN TARGETS FOODSERVICE GROWTH WITH TWC TIE-UP Innovative retail chain David’s Kitchen has announced a tie-up with data and digital experts TWC to examine further avenues of growth for the retail/foodservice hybrid business. BY ANTONY BEGLEY


avid’s Kitchen, the local retailing/ foodservice hybrid chain of stores set up by David Sands, has announced a new project with data and digital experts TWC. First opened in 2014 in Glenrothes, the David’s Kitchen stores were among the first convenience stores in Scotland to fully embrace the foodto-go opportunity, a model that has become commonplace in recent years. The expanded group now employs a chef in each of its stores, helping drive a regularly-evolving menu of hot and cold meals prepared fresh every day. David’s Kitchen first engaged TWC at the back end of 2021 to conduct a consumer research project to better understand how customers perceive the company’s foodservice proposition. Commenting on the project, David’s Kitchen founder David Sands said: ”As we strive to increase the share of foodservice

sales across our business, we wanted to understand what our customers think of the proposition and how we can make sure we are delivering on their needs. We also needed to make sure that our customers are fully aware of our full proposition. One of the things we found out is that our customers are keen for David’s Kitchen to offer a wider range of healthy or healthier meals and that is something we are now developing with our chefs.” TWC’s Development Director Tom Fender commented: “TWC is delighted to be working with such influential businesses to help shape their strategy. Consumer research is now an important part of our proposition, in addition to our technology and consulting divisions. Sales data reports ‘what’ is happening, but consumer insight helps to explain ‘why’ sales occur. Businesses need expert support in both areas to understand the total picture.”

“One of the things we found out is that our customers are keen for David’s Kitchen to offer a wider range of healthy or healthier meals and that is something we are now developing with our chefs.”



Inside Business

SLR Products of the Year Award 2021

YOUR FAVOURITE PRODUCTS OF THE YEAR: THE SHORTLIST The votes are in for the SLR Product of the Year Awards 2021 and the shortlist is revealed below for the very first time. BY GAELLE WALKER



YEAR 2021


HOW DID WE ESTABLISH THE SHORTLIST? The list of outstanding new product development that you will see over the next few pages has been carefully curated using a complex scoring formula with only the top-performing products making it into the shortlist. Every single new product that was carried in SLR in print or digital format in 2021 – and there were hundreds of them – were analysed and scored against a range of the most important engagement criteria including digital views, reads and clicks as well as offline retailer feedback and nominations.


ll retailers know the appeal of exciting new products and how they can help drive footfall and sales, acting as an irresistible lure for shoppers and drawing them in from near and far. And when combined with great use of social media, local retailers have the power to create a veritable sales frenzy around the hottest products. But what exactly were the hottest products of last 12 months? That’s a question the SLR Product of the Year Awards 2021 is set to answer, as voted for by the people that matter most: Scotland’s local retailers. The awards aim to recognise and reward the products and manufacturers doing the best job of helping retailers sell more stock and make

BEER, CIDER AND LOW NO ALCOHOL BEER Q Brothers Cider- Pink Grapefruit/ Honeycomb Q Brothers Cider - Toffee Apple Alcohol Free Q Doom Bar (Fridge Pack) Q Beavertown Brewery Bones Q Frosty Jacks - Frosé Q Guinness 0%

more profit. Just take the 2020 limited-edition launch of Twirl Orange as one example: a launch so enticing that it even made the national news, as retailers and shoppers alike scrambled to bag a bar. Fortunately for Scotland’s local retailing community, chocolate isn’t the only category that is perfectly suited to the innovation game. As the following pages clearly demonstrate, 2021 witnessed the arrival of numerous innovative and attention-grabbing products, all of which were launched following in-depth market analysis and insight into new and emerging consumer trends. From sensationally spiced crisps to berrylicious spirits and cutting-edge vapes, these new products offered local retailers bucket-loads

of tasty profit opportunities with which to hook local shoppers. And boy, were they hungry to bite! SLR’s Product of The Year awards have been designed to celebrate these temping new products and the suppliers who invested in bringing them to market. Read on to see the cream of the innovation crop laid out, as we reveal the shortlist for 2021. Overall winners will be revealed in special digital and print supplements of SLR in February and March, as-well as in our digital sister title, The Week In Retail. All winning products will also be entitled to carry the SLR Products of the Year Awards 2021 winner or shortlisted logo on-pack and in their marketing materials.




Q McVitie’s Chocolate Digestives/

Q Kingsmill 50/50 Multi-Seed/ Kingsmill

Q Bonds pick ‘n’ mix - Berry Mess Mix

McVitie’s Chocolate Hobnobs Dessertinspired Limited Edition range. Q McVities Digestives/ Hobnobs The Fully Coated One Q Cadbury Sandwich Snack/ Cadbury Cookie Bites. Q Ritter Sport Mini - Cornflake/ Whole Hazelnuts/ Alpine Milk Chocolate/ Butter Biscuit Q KitKat Christmas caramelised biscuit

50/50 No Bits Multi-Seed Q Dr. Oetker Spectacular Science Cupcakes Stretchy Slime Q Dr. Oetker - Rainbow Magic Q Dr. Oetker Spectacular Science! Solar System.

Shaker Cup/ Just Desserts Chocky Road Mix Shaker Cup Q Tic Tac Coca-Cola Q Haribo Sour Sparks/ Haribo Starbeams (Vegetarian) Q Skittles Giants Crazy Sours Q Chewits - Blue Raspberry/ Cherry/ Sour Lemon Xtreme/Sour Cherry Xtreme. Q Bonds Spring 2021 range

Q Jaffa Jonuts



Inside Business

SLR Products of the Year Award 2021



Q Galaxy Smooth Orange Block

Q Blockhead strawberry prebiotic sweets

Q Drumstick Chocolate

Q EXTRA Refreshers New Bottle Format

Sapphire and Light Tonic

TOBACCO Q Embassy Signature Gold Superkings

Q Whitebox Cocktail Cans

Q Signature Action

Q Malibu Watermelon Lemonade RTD

Q Sterling Dual Capsule Leaf Wrapped



Q Embassy Signature - New Crush

Josh’s Cadbury Dairy Milk Banoffee

Q Viper Hard Seltzer Lime

Q Swan - Flavour Fusion Cards FRESH

Q JPS Players Easy Rolling Tobacco

Nut Crumble/ Sophie’s Cadbury Dairy

Q 19 Crimes Seltzer Lime Bitters

Milk No Frownie Brownie

Q 19 Crimes Seltzer Raspberry and

Q Kinder Bueno Coconut Q Cadbury inventor Bars - Roxy’s Cadbury Dairy Milk Fizzing Cherry/

Q Cadbury Caramilk Q Ferrero Rocher Bars White, Milk and Dark Chocolate 90g Q Aero, Milkybar and Rolo Combos CRISPS AND SNACKS Q McCoy’s Fire Pit range (including Flame Roasted Peri Peri, Flame Smoked Chorizo, and Flame Scorched BBQ Ribs. Q Jacob’s Mini Cheddars Crunchlets Rich and Tangy Cheddar and Cheddar and Caramelised Onion Q Walkers MAX Kentucky Fried Chicken/ Walkers MAX Double Crunch Zinger. Q Quavers - Prawn Cocktail/ Salt & Vinegar Q Butterkist Crunchy Orange Chocolate Q Mackies - Boxing Day Curry

and Tropical flavour


Black Pepper

BURST Q Swan - Flavour Fusion Cards MENTHOL



Q RELX Infinity Deep Blue Device

Q Häagen-Dazs 2-in-1

Q KA – Tropical Krush/ Strawberry Soda/

Q RELX Infinity Essential Blue Glow

Q Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream - vanilla-based Rain-Dough / chocolatey Dough-ble Chocolate Q Magnum Double Gold Caramel Billionaire Q Wall’s Cornetto Soft/ Twister Peek-ABlue/ Cornetto Go Q Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough Peace Pop Q Walls Yummies Tropical and Berry

Citrus Punch Q Rubicon Raw - Raspberry & Blueberry;/Orange & Mango/ Cherry & Pomegranate Q Tango Dark Berry Sugar Free Q Yazoo - Jaffalicious Choc orange

Q Fanta Blue Shokata (500ml)


Q Grenade Gingerbread Carb Killa

Q Snickers Hi Protein White Chocolate

Q Weetabix On The Go - Cafe Latte

bar/ Snickers Hi Protein White

Q Ginsters Smoky Steak & Guinness

Chocolate Caramel and Peanut

Slice Q Rustlers - Cook in Box Range (The Supreme Cheese Melt Burger and

Q Lifebuoy - Multisurface range

Sausage Muffin)

Q Lil-Lets (reusable applicator)

Q Ginsters Festive Chicken & Stuffing Slice Q Ginsters Bake Range including Cajun Spiced Chicken Bake/ Philly Cheese Steak Bake/ Mac & Cheese Bake/ Harissa Spiced Chicken Bake

Q Kleenex Protective Care range including Hygeine Mask and Antibacterial wipes HEALTHY SNACKS/BREAKFAST BARS Q Nature Valley Full Mix


Q Soreen Malt Lunchbox Loaves (10)

Q Rustlers Meatless Maverick

Q Graze Oats Boost - Cherry Bakewell/

Q Nairns Oats Your Way Gluten Free Q Dietary Requirement Sandwich range James Hall (Vegan, Vegetarian and Gluten Free) Q Cadbury Plant Bar - Smooth Chocolate/ Smooth Chocolate with Salted Caramel pieces Q Taste & Glory Deli Slices - No-Ham/ No-Chicken/ No-Beef Q Flora Plant Butter Spreadable

Chocolate Cookie.

Q Cesar Natural Goodness Cans Q Noochy Poochy RTDS


Q Spar Fresh Rosé Bag in a box 2.25L Q Spar Seashell Bay Sauvignon Blanc SUSTAINABLE Q Absoult Vodka (Limited Edition sustainable glass bottle) Q Feel Good Sustinable Toilet Roll

Q Jameson Orange

Q BrewDog Planet Pale

Q Dead Man’s Fingers Black and White Rum Q Hooch Spirits Lemon Gin/ Raspberry & Lemon Gin/ Mango & Lime Rum Q Smirnoff Mango and Passionfruit Twist

CHILLED Q Babybel Plus - Babybel + Vitamins/ Babybel + Live Cultures Q Müller Corner Creations Diana Asher Smith Q Müller Rice Protein


Q The Laughing Cow Blends

Q Irn-Bru Energy Big Can (500ml)

Q Müller Kefir Smoothie.

Q Monster - Monster Mule/ Monster Ultra

Q Petits Filous No Added Sugar Mess

Fiesta/ Monster Juiced Monarch. Q Lucozade Zero Tropical Q Purdey’s Natural Energy Refocus Dark Fruits

Free GROCERY Q Mission Foods - Convenience tortilla

Q Lucozade Zero (330ml cans)

wraps/ plain pitta bread/ naan

Q Rockstar Original No Sugar

Q Weetabix Chocolate Melts - Milk

Q Red Bull Cactus Fruit Permanent Addition

Chocolate/ White Chocolate Q Old El Paso Tortilla Pockets Smoky BBQ Q Pot Noodle Fusions - Katsu Curry/ Chili

SQUASH Q Vimto Core Range re-launch,

Q Rekorderlig Pink Lemon Cider

fortification and new Blackberry/

Q Gordon’s 0.0% (pre-mix) Can

Raspberry & Blueberry flavours

Q Lambrini (4 pack)

Infused Red

Q Smirnoff Raspberry Crush

Q Lucozade Alert - Tropical/ Cherry PET FOOD

Q Beefeater new RTD’s London Dry,


Russian vodka Q Dead Man’s Fingers - Banana Rum

Q Captain Morgan Sliced Apple PERSONAL CARE

Q Rutas de Cafayate - Malbec

Q Spar Crisp White Bag in a box 2.25L SPIRITS AND NO OR LOW ALCOHOL SPIRITS

Q JJ Whitley Gold Filtered artisanal

updated formula


Q 19 Crimes The Deported Coffee

limited edition now permanent

Q Snickers Hi Protein Crisp Q Bounty Hi Protein bar new look and

range of eight flavours

Q 19 Crimes - Revolutionary Rosé

Q Pepsi - Lime

protein powder

Device (Value price) £9.99 Q Dinnerlady Vape Pen new disposable

Q Red Bull Cactus Fruit launched as a

PROTEIN Q Chocolate M&Ms Hi Protein whey


launch and 1L format later in year

Cheddar Steak and Rich and Tangy

Quaker Porridge to Go Pricemarked Bars

and 50g packs) Q HEETS Mauve Wave

Q Gold Leaf Carnival Edition Papers

Q Jim Beam Peach


Q Sterling Rolling Tobacco Essential (30g

Q Viper Hard Seltzer Cranberry

Q Nature Valley Protein Soft Bakes

Q Mini Cheddars Sticks Grilled Sizzling


Bramble and Tonic and Bombay

Chicken/ Thai Green Curry Q Tilda - Katsu Curry Rice Q Bird’s Custard Pods

Q Robinsons Double Strength Blackcurrant

Blood Orange, Pink Strawberry

Q Capri-Sun Multivitamin Squash -

Q Bombay Sapphire RTDs Bombay

Orange/ Apple & Blackcurrant

Inside Business


SWA SECURES £15M FUNDING SUPPORT FOR WHOLESALE SECTOR The Scottish Wholesale Association has welcomed the news that an additional £15m of support funding is being made available to the wholesale sector in Scotland.


he Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) has welcomed the recent announcement by Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy Kate Forbes that an additional £10m is to be made available to support the food and drink wholesale sector as it recovers from the pandemic. This is on top of the £5m dedicated funding for wholesale announced by the Scottish Government last December as part of the £8m supply chain funding from its £100m Omicron business support package. As SLR went to press, it was expected that a new round of the Scottish Food and Drink Wholesale Resilience Fund would go live. This will be similar to the first fund launched in December 2020 when the SWA first secured £5m for the sector. Colin Smith, SWA Chief Executive, said that this additional support for wholesale comes 34


as a direct result of the association’s ongoing commitment to its members and ongoing dialogue with the Scottish Government to ensure that wholesalers affected by coronavirus get the financial support they need. “Wholesalers haven’t received the same benefits as many other businesses such as rates relief or strategic framework grants over the pasts year,” he said. “The SWA highlighted this anomaly and the real hardship faced by many wholesalers to the Scottish Government. So this latest, dedicated funding recognises the key role that wholesalers play in the food and drink supply chain, including the supply into schools and hospitals.” “We’re delighted that the Finance Secretary has accepted our calls for further support,” he added. “We have worked hard to build an excellent relationship with Scottish Government officials and helped them to understand the importance

of wholesale to local economies across Scotland where our industry is a key employer. “What the SWA team has achieved is unmatched anywhere else in the UK, with the Scottish Government targeting nearly £23m for wholesalers over the last two years. We know this funding will be a lifeline for many wholesalers and we’re delighted that the Government has acknowledged the important work undertaken in the food and drink supply chain and by Scotland’s wholesalers.” Smith said that the SWA’s member wholesalers were slowly recovering from the impact of the latest variant but warned that “there is still a long way to go”. “We thank ministers and officials for working with us to tailor a fund to the needs of our sector and look forward to continued engagement with them to ensure Scotland’s wholesale sector recovers and keeps the wheels to the food and drink industry moving,” he concluded.

UK & ROI, 18+. Promotion Period: 00.01 17/01/22 – 23.59 01/05/22. No purchase necessary for Northern Ireland & ROI. Purchase necessary in GB. Visit website or scan QR code on back of promotional pack and follow the instructions for entry. Internet & personal details required. Main Prize: 1 trip to Warner Bros World in Abu Dhabi for winner and guest (exclusions apply). Instant Win Prizes: 2 pairs of cinema tickets to be won daily for the duration of the promotion (choice of cinema at the discretion of the Promoter). Wrap Up Prize: Entrants who enter between 00.00 02/05/22 – 23.59 30/11/22, will be placed in a final draw for a chance to win £500/€ equivalent. Max 1 Instant Win entry/household/day. Max 1 Instant Win Prize/person/household. Max 1 prize draw entry/person. Prize fulfilment subject to C19 guidance and circumstances beyond the control of the Promoter. Receipt may be requested. Visit for full T&Cs, prize details and NI/ROI NPN.

Inside Business

Symbol Spotlight | Nisa

A FASCIA FIT FOR YOUR STORE Nisa enjoyed a fantastic and award-winning 2021 and plans to build on that in 2022.


isa is proud to work with many multi award-winning stores and progressive retailers and is the partner of choice for many marketleading, independently minded retailers in Scotland. And with recent industry recognition including Symbol/Franchise Group of the Year win at the Retail Industry Awards 2021, and Symbol Group Community Initiative of the Year at the SLR Awards 2021, there has never been a better time to join Nisa. Nisa retailers can depend on award-winning support, access to an extensive product range comprising more than 13,000 SKUs and around 2,500 Co-op own brand products – all delivered by Nisa’s industry-leading supply chain.

A FASCIA TO FIT YOUR STORE Retailers have the option to operate under a symbol fascia – Nisa Local, Nisa Express or Nisa Extra – or dual-branded, whereby a Nisa partner can maintain their own local identity whilst also benefiting from the strength of the Nisa brand. Alternatively, a retailer can choose to trade under their own independent fascia. Built on simplicity and fairness, Nisa’s rebate model Fresh Rewards gives independent retailers the opportunity to unlock up to 5.5.% rebate with additional benefits available for those embracing Co-op own brand products and those with a Nisa fascia store. Retailers can see how much rebate they could earn by visiting Nisa’s future-fit Express design provides a dedicated fascia option and store format for convenience and forecourt sites operating in stores up to 1,000sq ft, and the latest technology and contemporary design providing a firstclass shopping experience for the consumer. 36


Nisa | Symbol Spotlight

Inside Business

Covering food-centric, forecourt and essentials, each design differs to meet the demands of the shopper, with format and range tailored for the specific market.

COMPREHENSIVE SUPPORT TO HELP GROW YOUR BUSINESS Nisa provides a complete retail support package which comprises a strong retail focused team, enhanced category management system, bespoke staff training facility and a comprehensive marketing package incorporating social media and PR support, leaflets, point of sale material, a personalised Nisa FM radio network and national advertising. Retailers also have access to Nisa’s market-leading Epos solution, Evolution. A comprehensive support structure is provided to ensure retailers continue to push their business forward, including retail development managers, range implementation managers, as well as an induction team dedicated to supporting new partners during their first 90 days with Nisa, ensuring a smooth transition process. With e-commerce now one of the biggest trends in convenience, Nisa has formed partnerships and agreed preferential terms with four key delivery partners to cater for this growing market and support retailers in reaching a larger range of customers: Snappy Shopper, Jisp, Uber Eats and Deliveroo.

Nisa also recently implemented a national roll-out of Jisp’s revolutionary Augmented Reality (AR) vouchering system, Scan & Save, to partners following a highly successful pilot. Delivering an impressive scan and redemption rate on Scan & Save-branded AR vouchers, the initiative provides a superb solution for retailers looking to deliver high-end technology that is often only accessible at larger supermarket chains. And Nisa recognises that community involvement is vital to independent retailers which is why Nisa enables its partners to support local good causes through its Making a Difference Locally charity, which has raised over £14m for good causes to date.

FRESH THINKING Retailers get access to best in class support through Nisa’s partner proposition, Fresh Thinking, including retail expertise and thought leadership to help continually improve customer experience through instore solutions, category insights, store format innovation and expert account management teams. Nisa partners also have access to convenience and symbol expertise through an in-house Insight team to help retailers truly understand their customers and their marketplace, access to planograms, marketing support, central helpdesks and the Co-op promotional plan. By putting Fresh Thinking at the heart of everything we do at Nisa, we’ve helped to ensure our partners have access to the best retail expertise, business support and quality products in the market. We recently revealed a fresh and modern newlook marketing offering to partners, building on the Fresh Thinking proposition that was first introduced last year.



Inside Business

Symbol Spotlight | Nisa

Listening to feedback from partners, we analysed the market and future trends to understand how we could improve our marketing mix. This enabled us to create a new design system that is distinctly Nisa but with a fresh and new feel. A greater focus has been put on meals and planned shopper missions, whilst dialling up value where it matters, as well as helping partners emphasise the breadth of their range in an ‘easy to navigate’ and modern way, to attract a new generation of shoppers.

SNAPPY SERVICE IN BELLSHILL A former pub site in Bellshill on the outskirts of Glasgow is the location for progressive independent retailer Daniall Nadeem’s store, now in its fourth year of operating. Daniall opened the doors to the 2,500sq ft Nisa Local fascia store in Motherwell Road in July 2018 and he hasn’t looked back since as the store continues to flourish. Launched as a “one stop shop” for the community of Bellshill, Daniall says that when developing the new store, they tried to “push the boat out” to make sure it had everything the area needed in its local store. “Nowadays just having an original convenience store is not enough for shoppers and so when we launched the store we really thought outside the box. “We went very big on the food-to-go experience. We wanted to make shoppers feel at home as soon as they walked in and give them the impression of being in something more like a supermarket where they can buy everything they need,” he said. An extensive refurbishment was undertaken with the unit’s interior stripped out and redesigned to create the smart-looking store 38


Nisa | Symbol Spotlight

there today. The vast windows and the generous car park give the convenience store the look and feel of a small supermarket that Daniall was aiming for, and he works hard to make sure there are plenty of competitive offers in store, easily spotted by shoppers as they walk in. “I always have a good look through Nisa’s implementation guide for every new period and see what suggestions are made for upselling certain lines and products. “The guide talks you through how your store should look with ideas for floor stacks and so on and some of the ideas for good displays, merchandised properly, work so well for me in the store.” Since the opening of the store there have been plenty of obstacles to overcome, not least the pandemic coming less than two years after the store was launched. However, the entrepreneur has used the situations to his advantage, by tackling them head on with solutions such as teaming up with Snappy Shopper early on to introduce a grocery delivery service which stood him in good stead from the outset of the Covid crisis. The store has been working with Snappy Shopper since January 2020, making it one of the first convenience stores to launch the service, and has seen a huge increase in sales and led to a new way of operating. Over the past two years, sales have grown considerably from a handful of online daily orders to around 50 a day. Daniall said: “Orders have gone up week on week since we launched, and we are still seeing that growth.” Daniall said his focus remains on the store itself with walk-in customers the priority but the delivery service available is an added extra for those unable or unwilling to go to the shop in person. And with that in mind Daniall is constantly looking for ways to improve the store with plans now afoot to move things round, changing the layout to focus on chilled products and move the food-to-go offer to the entrance of the shop. “There’s always new ways of doing things and I am always looking at what works elsewhere for others to make sure we stay up-to-date here and keep giving our customers what they want. “As an independent retailer it’s in my interest to keep on top of the latest advice and retailing tips and make sure I make the most of the ideas. Different things work for different stores and different demographics but the market changes constantly and I want to make sure I respond to that.”

TAKING OFF IN GREENOCK When Harry Ahmed bought a brand new, purpose-built unit to launch his first Nisa store in Greenock, 20 miles drive from Glasgow airport, he could never have anticipated that within weeks of opening he would be facing the challenges of a global pandemic. But that’s exactly what happened and yet, the baptism of fire has worked surprisingly well for the ambitious independent retailer. The 1,500sq ft store, which sits in a new development and has dedicated off-road parking, was designed by Nisa’s format and development team and Harry spent a considerable amount of time with Store Development Manager John Roberts creating the perfect retail space. Before opening the store, Harry did his research, both into which wholesale supply group he wanted to work with as well as what future customers were looking for. The feedback Harry gathered from local people prior to opening revealed one key factor they felt was missing – the lack of community involvement from other local stores and poor relationships with their customers. Harry has worked hard on this from day one and believes that providing the community with a great store, the best range and a warm welcome will serve him and the business well, far beyond Covid-19. The store itself has the full specification of the Stoneleigh store, showcased at the Nisa exhibition in 2019, and was one of the key factors that drew Harry to Nisa. “When you look at the store, I think the graphics and the look of the place is brilliant – it

Inside Business

gives it a great finish and is really contemporary. Add to that the Nisa pricing, the Co-op own label range and the fresh produce that Nisa offers – it all works for us and for our customers.” A major focus of the store is on the fresh offer and the chilled produce; fruit and vegetables in particular do well for Harry. He attributes much of the early success of the range to Nisa’s fresh food development manager Kevin Polley who he worked with closely as the store was being developed. “Co-op chill has been doing really well, as has all the fruit and veg, and we have got a superb range in. I was initially a bit concerned about the amount of chilled food for the size of the unit, but it has been working brilliantly.” The store’s neighbouring outlets are also excellent for driving additional sales for Harry, with customers leaving Greggs during the daytime and visiting the convenience store for a Costa Coffee, F’real milkshake or Skwishee to accompany their purchase. Similarly, in the evening people call in to buy wine or beer to accompany their pizza purchased from Domino’s. Of his journey since first launching the store, Harry had this to say: “I really did get thrown in at the deep end, but it has been a challenge, it’s been enjoyable, and I have been making money. I always knew the site would be successful, but I think without the pandemic it would have taken longer to succeed than it has. “The Nisa team has really helped out with everything, both before we opened and supporting from a distance during the pandemic.”





Product News & Media Watch

Babybel Plant-Based Bel UK Babybel Plant-Based will be available from early 2022 in cases of eight, with an RSP of £2 per pack. It is made using a Vegan Societyapproved blend of coconut oil and starch, is free from artificial colours and preservatives, is a source of calcium and Vitamin B12, and comes in a recyclable paper outer. Packs contain five portions, each individually wrapped in a green wax shell – a move away from the brand’s traditional red.

Red Bull Sugarfree Price Marked Multipack Red Bull Red Bull’s new £4.69 pricemarked four-pack is exclusively available to local retailers from Booker. Multipacks are currently outperforming any other format, +34% MAT and driving 85% incremental growth. Over half (56%) of impulse shoppers also indicate that they would be more likely to buy a price-marked pack, significantly over indexing within the 33 to 44-yearold age demographic.

McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Lemon & Lime Pladis Pladis is bringing back McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Lemon & Lime, which originally launched in 2018 as a limited edition. The brand said the success of its previously-launched variants proves its customers are eager to taste test new flavours and formats. The new product joins existing Pineapple, Cherry and Passion Fruit flavours, available in 122g boxes with a £1.20 RSP.



LU makes UK debut

Mondelez International has launched its French biscuit brand LU in the UK with four variants: Le Petit Chocolat, Le Petit Beurre, Le Petit Biscotte, and Le Petit Citron. Le Petit Beurre (167g, RSP £1.50, cases of six) is based on the brand’s original biscuit from 1886. Its oblong shape took inspiration from French tea mats used at the time. The additional design flourishes reflect the calendar year – 4 corner ears for the 4 seasons, 52 teeth for each week of the year and 24 indents for the 24 hours of each day. Who’d have guessed. Le Petit Chocolat (150g, RSP £1.50, case size 14) pairs the Petit Beurre with a layer of milk chocolate. It features the ‘Petit Ecolier’ (little schoolboy) figure, moulded into the chocolate and designed by French painter Firmin Bouisset.

Oatibix Flakes Nutty Crunch Weetabix Food Company This new nutty Oatibix variant will be available from 28 February in 450g packs, RSP £3.29. An HFSScompliant addition to the range, 100% wholegrain Nutty Crunch contains honeycomb pieces, honey-coated corn flakes and caramelised nuts. It is naturally low in salt and high in fibre. Oatibix is also relaunching this month with fresh packaging and a recipe reformulation for the Original biscuits. A new TV advert will air later in the year.

Le Petit Citron (140g, RSP £1.50, cases of seven) brings a soft texture and delicate lemon flavour to the range, while Le Petit Biscotte (200g, RSP £1.50, case size 10) pairs the flavours of brown sugar and cinnamon with a rich crunchy texture. Charlotte Parkes, Senior Brand Manager, LU, said: “It’s not every day that you can say you’ve worked with a French icon. LU’s range is a real treat and these treats are sure to be a hit with biscuit lovers in the UK. With these four varieties, we bring something truly unique to shelves. Each with their own irresistible flavour, these recipes have more than stood the test of time.” LU’s story began in 1886 when Jean-Romain Lefèvre and Pauline-Isabelle Utile fell in love over their shared passion for baking biscuits. Putting the first initials of their surnames together, LU was born.

Ben & Jerry’s Sundaes Unilever New Sundaes feature “never-beforeseen” whipped ice cream topping, finished with gooey sauce and chocolatey chunks. Four flavours, including one vegan, are available now with an RSP of £5.49. These are Cookie Vermont-ster, Hazel-nuttin’ but Chocolate, Oh My! Banoffee Pie! and Non-Dairy Berry Revolutionary. All are Fairtrade certified. For more information about Ben & Jerry’s or other Unilever brands, please visit unilever. com.

NICNAC disposable vape JAC Vapour NICNAC is initially available in three flavours: Sunleaf tobacco, Absolute menthol and Kiberry Cool, with 10 more flavour options in the pipeline. Cases of 10 are available from Booker until the end of March with a WSP of £17.45 and a £3.49 RSP, offering retailers 40% POR. The 20mg/ml nicotine salts device contains over 300 puffs. For more information please contact emma@

Product News & Media Watch Angel Delight dessert pots Premier Foods Angel Delight has launched two ready-to-eat dessert pots into the convenience channel, designed specifically for food-to-go chillers. Both Chocolate & Salted Caramel and Butterscotch & Chocolate variants are under 120 calories, are vegetarian-friendly and are nonHFSS. They come with a significant shelf-life benefit over existing to-go chiller desserts and are available now in 100g pots with a £1 RSP. Packaging is fully recyclable.

McCoy’s Sizzling King Prawn £1 PMP KP Snacks The launch of McCoy’s Sizzling King Prawn £1 PMP marks the 25th SKU in KP’s £1 price-marked pack range and looks to capitalise on the growth of PMPs. McCoy’s is the UK’s number one ridged crisp brand and its £1 PMP range is outperforming market growth (+33.8% compared to +8.3%). Furthermore, prawn is the fastest-growing flavour within the category (+10% vs the category at +2.7%).

Zero Nicotine Disposables Geek Bar Geek Bar’s new zero nicotine disposable vape range is available in Pink Lemonade, Sweet Strawberry, Mango Ice, Passion Fruit, Banana Ice, Sour Apple, Watermelon Ice, Blueberry Ice, Strawberry Ice Cream, and Grape flavours. The new products offer 575 puffs and use the same battery technology already used by Geek Bar. Retailers can report suspected counterfeit and noncompliant products at

Lucozade Alert Original Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I Building on the success of the launch of its Tropical Burst and Cherry Blast flavours, Original is the latest addition to the Lucozade Alert range, which generated £1m in sales in under two months through wholesale and convenience stores. Low calorie and nonHFSS, it is available in cases of 12 x 500ml plain (RSP £1.55) and £1.39 price-marked packs. The launch is supported by PR, digital and social media advertising.


Sausage wrestler Quorn’s new ‘Tasty Resolution’s’ TV ad encourages carnivores to swap out meat for Quorn and runs until the end of February across TV, video-on-demand, online and social. It features a meat-loving wrestler dad who normally can’t keep to any resolutions. This year, he resolves to eat more healthily and makes the switch to Quorn sausages.

Keeping grey at bay Fanta has launched its first ever global campaign, which aims to inject colour into the greyness of everyday life. The brand says the Colourful People campaign is “rooted in the belief that people who are expressive and playful at heart will make other people feel welcome and encourage playfulness in the world to fight back the ‘grey’ of everyday”.

Britain’s Most Loved Crisps Walkers has launched ‘Britain’s Most Loved Crisps,’ a new campaign to celebrate what the brand is calling “the nation’s love and appreciation for the famous range of crisps”. The campaign is supported by multi-millionpound TV and digital activity. The advert demonstrates how different people enjoy the assorted range in a unique way.

OO’s for a brew? Yazoo Choc Caramel FrieslandCampina The relaunch of one of Yazoo’s best-selling limited-editions follows considerable consumer demand. It is available in 400ml plain (RSP £1.15) and price-marked (2 for £2) packs, as well as a 1-litre £1.79 price-marked pack. The launch is backed by a six-figure integrated marketing campaign which includes videoon-demand, print and digital advertising, social media support and competitions, alongside in-store activity.

Vimto Giant Cables Hancock Available now from Hancocks, Vimto Giant Cables are long lengths of Vimto flavour candy with a creamy fondant centre, made with real fruit juice. The cables are around 75cms long and come in boxes of 80 with a wholesale price of £18.99 per box. A 99p RSP gives a whopping POR of 71.21%. Hancocks said: “They’ll definitely be a much loved product and they’re filled with that Vimto flavour that everyone just adores.”

Typhoo has launched its first brand campaign in almost five years. The three-month ‘OO Please’ campaign includes a huge consumer stunt, mass experiential sampling, radio advertising and sponsorships, PR, and social media. The campaign kicked off with shoppers in Liverpool witnessing a Typhoo takeover of locations throughout the city.

New Year, New you-a-bix A new light-hearted TV campaign is encouraging Brits to start the day right by trying out even more new ways of eating Weetabix. The £1.5m campaign runs across TV, video-on-demand, online and social media platforms through January and February, supported by online and in-store shopper marketing.

for all the latest product news, head to







Consumer demand for greater value for money within the £14bn tobacco category has never been so great BY GAELLE WALKER

ESSENTIAL RYO LAUNCH JTI has supported retailers by keeping the RSP low on Sterling Essential Rolling Tobacco 30g, as well as introducing a new 50g format to tap into the demand for value RYO products. Building on the success of the 30g, JTI has announced the new 50g format, which offers the same RYO quality at a competitive RRP of just £21.20. The launch comes as JTI upholds low RSPs throughout the Sterling Essential range, for both the 30g and 50g formats. The 30g variant currently offers a value RSP of just £12.95. Mirroring the 30g format, Sterling Essential Rolling Tobacco 50g is a less for less alternative, with no filters and papers providing existing adult smokers the freedom to purchase their preferred tobacco accessories. It also comes in a paper insert pouch packaging which contains less aluminium, and the blend generates less leaf waste compared to other RYO brands due to its unique whole leaf blend.




rom apples to energy, insurance to gym memberships, prices are rising across the board in 2022 – even the cost of sofas has taken a running jump due to supply chain challenges. This cost conundrum is breeding a new level of price sensitivity among shoppers, with “savvy shopping” and value for money expected to be “top of mind” at the start of the year and wellbeyond according to IGD. When it comes to the UK’s £14bn tobacco market, the need for value is not just top of mind, it’s front, left back and centre - and the most powerful trend driving sales and new product development. Imperial Tobacco UK Corporate Affairs Director Duncan Cunningham explains: “We’re seeing continued movement towards lowpriced propositions across the entire category as

Stock up on Players Easy Rolling Tobacco Our cheapest Rolling Tobacco* High qualitty y

Easy rolling blen


30g RRP**

£12.95 For Tobacco Traders Only. *Based on ITUK RRP as at October 2021. **RRP: For the avoidance of doubt, retailers are free at all times to determine the selling price of their products.



JTI KEEPS KENSITAS CLUB RSP LOW Kensitas Club is JTI’s lowest priced cigarette brand in Scotland and the company has announced that it will be keeping the RSP low at £9.75 on Kensitas Club Kingsize and Superkings to help retailers meet the growing demand for value. JTI’s decision to keep the RSP low reflects consumer demand for Ultra Value cigarettes which currently make up 37.4% share of the cigarette sector [IRI, Dec 2021]. This low RSP means retailers can make the most of a profitable opportunity with the fastest growing cigarette brand in Scotland [JTI estimates to Feb 2022]. Available across all channels, Kensitas Club sales now total £165.2m year on year, according to JTI. Mark McGuinness, Marketing Vice President at JTI UK, says: “We understand that for many existing adult smokers, price plays a large role when choosing which brand to purchase. JTI’s decision to keep the RSPs low for Kensitas Club Kingsize and Superkings will allow retailers to tap into the Ultra Value sector that accounts for a large portion of the RMC market. We’re confident that the new RSP will provide Scottish retailers with a fantastic opportunity to drive incremental sales and capitalise on over 100 years of success for the Kensitas Club brand.”

EVEN STEVENS Within the tobacco market, there is now almost a 50/50 market share split across FMC and RYO – at 53% and 47% respectively. (Source Imperial Tobacco)

BIGGER BASKETS Tobacco shoppers have an average basket spend worth £19.60 vs non-tobacco at £11.40, and they also visit more frequently, averaging 2.9 visits a week in comparison to 2.5 for other shoppers. (Source Imperial Tobacco)

consumer demand for value continues to drive tobacco purchasing patterns. “As part of this shift, the lower price tiers now account for the majority of sales, with the sub-economy segment making up 63% share of Factory Made Cigarettes (FMC) and the economy segment accounting for 51% of Roll Your Own (RYO) with both value segments growing at 4% year on year.” Unsurprisingly, Imperial says the transition towards lower priced tobacco offerings is a “key

PML GETS FRUITY WITH 10TH HEETS VARIANT Philip Morris Limited (PML) has announced the launch of HEETS Mauve, a new variant in its range of HEETS tobacco sticks designed exclusively for the IQOS heated tobacco system, the UK’s number one smoke-free product[Nielsen, Sep 2021]. Launching as a unique taste proposition, HEETS Mauve offers a crisp menthol tobacco blend with a taste of dark forest fruits. Marking the tenth variant available from PML in the UK, the full portfolio now offers a wide selection of tobacco blends to meet any preference. Kate O’Dowd, Head of Commercial Planning, for PML in the UK and Ireland, said: “Broadening our HEETS tobacco sticks range to 10 variants with HEETS Mauve offers retailers even more choice for their adult customers who have switched to IQOS.”



trend that retailers should be prepared to cater for given the value of tobacco shoppers in terms of the wider sales they generate in store.” According to Imperial, tobacco shoppers have an average basket spend worth £19.60 vs non-tobacco at £11.40, and they also visit more frequently, averaging 2.9 visits a week in comparison to 2.5 for other shoppers. Within the tobacco market, there is now almost a 50/50 market share split across FMC and RYO – at 53% and 47% respectively. The consumer drive for value is particularly clear to spot within the RYO sector, where economy-priced products account for the lion’s share of sales at 51% - well ahead of mid-priced and premium products which hold 35% and 14% shares respectively, Imperial says. Responding to these findings, Imperial launched its new JPS Players Easy Rolling Tobacco in 2021. Featuring lower levels of moisture, JPS Players Easy Rolling Tobacco is “easier to handle and to roll,” a feature designed to appeal to the growing number of cigarette smokers who continue to move into the cheaper RYO category. The range is available to buy in 30g and 50g formats priced at £12.95 and £21.20 respectively, with each pouch including a set of rolling papers. Imperial’s Riverstone range was also repositioned in 2021 to sit within the growing economy RYO segment alongside JPS Players.



WELCOME TO 2022. EXPLORE VELO, THE ALTERNATIVE TO TOBACCO. MOVE ON TO VELO NICOTINE POUCHES WITH 99% LESS TOXICANTS THAN A CIGARETTE.* *This product is not risk-free and contains nicotine, an addictive substance. 99% less toxicants than a cigarette comparison is based on an assessment of smoke from a scientific standard reference cigarette (approximately 9mg tar) and components released during use of a VELO pouch, in terms of the average of the 9 harmful components the World Health Organisation recommends to reduce in cigarette smoke. To find out more visit: VELO.COM/MOVEON This product contains nicotine and is addictive. For adult nicotine consumers only. For trade use only.




NICOTINE PORTFOLIO A quarter of consumers are now dual smokers who buy into different RYO and FMC products to suit different occasions according to Imperial Tobacco.

The brand’s 30g and 50g pouches feature respective RRPs £12.95 and £21.20 with both including papers and filters for an additional value-hit. JTI also lowered the RRP for its Kensitas Club Rolling Tobacco range in Scotland towards the end of 2021. At £12.95 for 30g 3-in-1 packs, the new low RRP offered adult smokers “great value,” JTI said. The price of its 50g pouch format also retained a “competitive” RRP of £21.20.

CIGARETTES Factory Made Cigarettes (FMC) were not left out of the value-focused NPD drive in 2021, with Imperial having also unveiled a new look for its Richmond FMC brand. December 2021 also saw JTI commit to keeping low prices on its Kensitas Club RMC range including Kingsize and Superkings in Scotland. “Designed to support retailers and wholesalers and boost profit opportunities,” both formats now feature an RRP of £9.75. Explaining the move, JTI UK marketing vice president Mark McGuinness, said: “We understand that for many existing adult smokers, price plays a large role when choosing which brand to purchase. “JTI’s decision to keep the RRPs low for Kensitas Club Kingsize and Superkings will

allow retailers and wholesalers to tap into the Ultra Value RMC sector that accounts for a large portion of the RMC market. “We’re confident that the new RRP will provide Scottish retailers and wholesalers with a fantastic opportunity to drive incremental sales and capitalise on over 100 years of success for the Kensitas Club brand.”

ACCESSORIES Worth more than £300m and growing at 3.1% year on year according to Republic Technologies, the tobacco accessories market will also present retailers with an array of opportunities in 2022, especially when it comes to new and emerging categories such as flavour cards. Swan’s Flavour Fusion Cards for example, were recently voted by retailers as the best new innovation within the smoking accessories market in 2021 as part of SLR’s annual Product of The Year awards. Building on the launch of Swan Crushball Menthol capsule filters in 2020, the new Flavour Fusion Cards allow consumers to create their own level of flavour in a packet of cigarettes or RYO tobacco in just 30 minutes. Cards come in two variants: Fresh Burst and Menthol and according to retailers are proving popular with the many adult smokers still seeking out flavour alternatives to menthol cigarettes.

MERCHANDISING ADVICE Retailers should make sure their product range links into the key trends at play, such as the rising demand for value. Tobacco stockists should also ensure they have a range of accessories on offer to take advantage of impulse purchases. Stores with a strong RYO customer base may want to consider offering a bigger range of filters, papers, flavour cards and lighters. Stores with more cigarette shoppers than RYO, may want to offer a smaller range and focus this mostly on lighters and flavour cards. Stocking even a small range of lighters, filters and papers will “really help retailers,” to ensure they don’t miss out on sales. Maintaining stock levels at all times is essential within tobacco. Keep an eye on stock, both on store shelves and in the stock room. (SOURCE IMPERIAL TOBACCO)





IT’S WISE TO ACCESSORISE… The increasing shift to RYO among smokers is continuing to provide major profit opportunities for local retailers. The UK tobacco accessories category is currently worth £320m and continues to show YoY growth, currently at +4.8% [IRI, Nov 2021], highlighting the importance for retailers to tap into these sales. Gavin Anderson, Sales & Marketing Director at Republic Technologies (UK), says: “Cash conscious shoppers are turning to more affordable RYO products as a way of saving money, versus factory made cigarettes. “The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns brought more shoppers than ever to local convenience stores, as people chose to stay local and minimise supermarket visits. This gave retailers an even bigger opportunity to drive visibility of margin-boosting tobacco accessories products.” By ensuring they are fully stocked with a range of tobacco accessories from trusted brands, retailers can cater for every customer and drive sales. Anderson continues: “As category specialists, we’re continuing to innovate. Not just with NPD but with a renewed focus on merchandising solutions, enabling retailers to highlight NPD and increase visibility of best-selling products. “Our iconic brands – including Swan, Zig-Zag and OCB – have considerable history in the market and are synonymous with quality and value for money. This, combined with our team’s valuable expertise in the category, means that we are well placed to add real value to convenience retailers.”

KEY CONSIDERATIONS RANGE: To drive RYO sales, focus on the products that are meeting your customers’ specific needs and stock the brands and formats that they’re seeking in these areas. Swan is the brand of choice for many RYO shoppers and Crushball filters have built up a strong and loyal consumer following since legislation changed in 2020. Q Swan Cool Burst Crushball: In a 2-part sliding pack containing 54 filters, this crush capsule delivers a cool menthol flavour sensation. RRP: £1.29. Q Swan Fresh Burst Crushball: This crush capsule delivers a strong peppermint flavour and also comes in a 2-part sliding pack containing 54 filters. RRP: £1.29. Q Swan Crushball Filters are available in a slim vertical shelf ready boxes, enabling convenience retailers to maximise returns from their space more effectively. SUSTAINABILITY: Environmental considerations continue to influence convenience store shoppers. With growing demand for more natural products and reduced packaging, Republic Technologies is increasing its focus on sustainably sourced products. This has led to a surge in demand for category-boosting products such as OCB Virgin Slim (RSP: £1.04) and OCB Virgin Slim & Tips (RSP: £1.63), unbleached papers made using OCB natural gum. DISPLAY: Q Republic Technologies launched an OCB counter display unit last year which contains 10 booklets of each of the three OCB Slim & Tips products: OCB Virgin, OCB Premium and OCB Organic Hemp. Countertop display units are a great way to signpost the category and provide visibility for bestselling products. Q Countertop display units are also available for Swan Fusion Flavour Cards.



CIGARS Cigars racked up another stonking year of sales in 2021 driven by the fast-growing cigarillo segment, which already accounts for 43% of all cigars sold in volume terms, and accounts for £86.5m in annual sales according to STG UK. Country Director Alastair Williams elaborates: “The retail sales value of the total UK cigar category has increased by 22.3% over the last year and now stands at just over £283m. “Cigar volume in the same period has also increased significantly, growing by 27.5% to 424.3 million cigars, underlining the growing importance of the category to retailers. The rise of the flavoured cigarillo segment (following the ban on menthol cigarettes) is certainly making its mark on local retailers, with almost 50% of sales now going through the independent trade – up significantly on past years. However, while cigarillos are very much in the spotlight, retailers should not lose sight of the category’s “engine room” - the key miniatures segment which remains the largest within cigars and worth just under £105m in annual sales, STG’s Williams advises. Total cigar category growth has also been supplemented by the continual rise in the medium and large segment, albeit from a smaller base with momentum expected to continue in 2022. “It’s also worth considering that there are key times of the year when cigar sales are on the rise,” Williams adds. “Typically, as Spring approaches, bringing with it more outdoor smoking opportunities, some adult smokers will treat themselves and ‘trade up’ to a larger format option, but of course this doesn’t mean that retailers need to start stocking larger more expensive handmade cigars! It may be as simple as a Miniature cigar smoker opting to jump to a Panatella for example.”






Soft Drinks

SHAK NG THINGS UP The soft drinks category is gearing up for a mocktail of challenges in 2022 BY GAELLE WALKER


rom new HFSS legislation to the growing consumer demand for healthier products, 2022 is shaping up to be a seminal year for soft drinks. And that’s before we get started on the other key shopper trends shaking the category up including the need for value, fresh exciting flavours and more sustainable products and practices. And with a current value of £311m in Scottish c-stores alone, and growing at 8% year-on-year (according to AG Barr) the soft drinks category is certainly one that’s well worth getting right.

SUGAR SUGAR With demand for healthier sugar-free options on the up and particularly among the younger generations, the first few weeks of 2022 have already witnessed the birth of numerous new sugar-free variants from big brand

manufacturers – innovations which will not just cater to demand but will also help retailers to “future-proof ” their ranges once the HFSS rules are enforced in October. “We know that the way people live is changing - health is becoming more important and, especially with younger shoppers, we’re seeing an increase in demand for lower calorie products and a significant reduction in the consumption of alcohol,” says Adrian Troy, marketing director at Barr Soft Drinks whose zero-sugar brand IrnBru Xtra is currently said to be “growing three times faster than the category..” Also answering the call for sugar-free innovation is CCEP, whose zero-sugar Monster Ultra range has just been bolstered with the addition of a juicy new Watermelon flavour. The range, which according to CCEP, is in 57% growth, is also being supported by a new snow sport-themed promotion.

IN THE CAN Irn Bru is hoping to drive incremental sales for Scottish retailers from February with the launch of a 330ml sleek can format of its ‘old and unimproved’ 1901 variant. Made to the authentic 1901 recipe, Irn-Bru 1901 was originally launched as a limited edition in 2019 and made a permanent return to shops last year in a 750ml glass format. Commenting on the latest format innovation, Barr Soft Drinks marketing director Adrian Troy said: “1901 fans love the recipe and this new ‘drink now’ can format will open up an incremental sales opportunity for retailers,” “As the food to go market continues to recover post-lockdowns, we recommend that retailers stock both formats of Irn-Bru1901, providing choice for existing, loyal shoppers whilst driving excitement and trial with new ones.”



Monster Ultra Watermelon will be available in both plain and price-marked 500ml packs for shoppers to enjoy on-the-go. CCEP GB Vice President of commercial development Martin Attock explains: “Two thirds of CCEP’s volume sales now come from low and no sugar variants – that’s 40% more than 10 years ago. “We know there’s big demand in the market for new and exciting flavours, especially in the low-calorie energy drinks segment.”

PACK IT UP Red Bull’s sugar-free range meanwhile has also just been launched in a new multipack format – in a canny move designed not only to tap into the growing sugar-free opportunity (30% of Red Bull’s impulse customers only purchase sugar-free sports and energy drinks) but one that also caters for rising demand for multipacks which, according to Red Bull, are currently “outperforming any other format” with a 34% growth MAT and driving 85% incremental growth. Monster Ultra’s aforementioned new Watermelon variant will also be launched in four-can multipacks from February. The move, CCEP said, would “capitalise on the continued popularity of the home-based energy drink occasions that accelerated during the pandemic” and that has boosted demand for larger pack formats ever since.”

PRICE In a year of continued economic uncertainty, PMPs also look set to play an increasingly important role when it comes to attracting value-thirsty shoppers.

Soft Drinks

As such Yazoo has also announced a refresh of its price-marked pack portfolio from February. Yazoo’s 1 litre bottles will be available as a £1.79 PMP; whilst the core 400ml bottles are in a £1.15 PMP, with an additional flash showing the attractive new 2 for £2 offer. FrieslandCampina business unit controller for out of home Wayne Thompson explains: “PMPs are popular with both retailers and consumers alike, protecting retailer margins whilst ensuring a positive price perception among shoppers. We know from our consumer research that Yazoo shoppers are often looking to make multiple bottle purchases, so the 2 for £2 offer provides value for money, especially as we head into another new year marked by economic uncertainty.”


The flavour train also looks set to pick up pace in 2022 as shoppers, especially those buying into the low to no sugar category, continue to hunt out innovative flavour fusions and tropical tastes. “Taste remains the number one motivation for shoppers when choosing a soft drink and new flavour innovations continue to drive growth in the category,” Barr’s Troy adds. Rubicon’s waters range was famously expanded last summer with the launch of new Rubicon Spring Pineapple Passion and Rubicon Sparkling Raspberry & Pineapple - the brand’s first sparkling flavour launch for over 30 years and the first soft drink in the UK with this fruity flavour combination.

THREE KEY WAYS TO DRIVE SOFT DRINKS SALES CHILL OUT Shoppers prefer their drinks to be chilled, with ‘Drink now’ sales still accounting for almost three quarters of all soft drinks sales in convenience.



BE AVAILABLE Ensure that your soft drinks fixture is highly visible, well presented and restocked regularly. If a product is selling out consistently, consider increasing the number of facings. HEALTHY LIVING With health becoming more important, especially to younger shoppers, offer a good choice of low-calorie products that don’t compromise on flavour. (SOURCE BARR SOFT DRINKS)

GREEN MOVES The need for brands and retailers to offer more sustainable options is also expected to hit new heights in 2022 - with shoppers increasingly expected to factor sustainability into their purchasing decisions according to Barr. Responding to this demand Barr says it plans to build on its No Time To Waste initiative with further measures to reduce its overall environmental impact, including reducing the use of virgin plastic through 100% recycled film on multipacks, paper straws on smaller juice packs and plant-based plastics in its 1L cartons.




Forecourt Safety

CLEANER, SAFER SALES IN HAND With Covid-19 still very much in the spotlight, forecourt retailers are being urged to help customers avoid cross-contamination and infection by offering hand-protection solutions at the pump. ECO-FRIENDLY GLOVE DISPENSER GripHero’s latest product breakthrough came at the end of last year with the launch of the all-new GripHero 2, its smallest-ever, most efficient glove dispenser, which has 10% more advertising space than previous models. It’s 20% smaller overall and the new dispenser is a ground-up redesign, taking on board feedback from the industry and customers to create a sleeker, universally compatible and faster refill solution, reducing glove-refill replacement times by 90%. The extra advertising space has been created following independent research, which shows that 77% of drivers are more likely to make impromptu purchases if they have clean hands after refuelling. Like all of GripHero’s 2020 nozzle-mounted dispensers, the new GripHero 2 dispenser is tamperand impact-proof, resistant to harsh fuels and chemicals, and is also temperature, weather, and UVproof – preventing discolouration.


otorists internationally are being advised to wear forecourt hand-protection at the fuel pump as a first line of defence against new variants of Covid-19, including Omicron. The advice comes from GripHero, the UK award-winning public health protection business, which has been recognised at the highest level for its role in protecting the public against Covid-19. Research shows that forecourts are high-transmission points. Here, every single day, drivers from across the country and across borders hold fuel pump handles tightly for up to three minutes. As a result, they pass whatever is on their hands to a surface that will be gripped by the next driver waiting to refuel. By forming a physical barrier between drivers’ hands and fuel pump handles, forecourt refuelling gloves break the chain of transmission, preventing viruses, biohazards, chemicals, carcinogens, diseases and illness being passed from one driver to another. According to GripHero, this one simple act could help to stop the rapidity of the spread of Omicron and Covid variants, which can otherwise leap hundreds of miles on drivers’ hands in a matter of hours and sit on fuel pump handles: a surface which has been proven to be over 11,000 times dirtier than the average toilet seat. GripHero’s recognition that fuel pump handles provide a clear path of transmission led the business to dispatch over 50,000 free dispensers to forecourts on five continents, protecting an extra 60



million drivers against Covid-19. This is in addition to the 500 million motorists already protected by GripHero’s on-the-nozzle gloves, which are dispensed at the driver’s first point of contact with fuel pumps. The decision to offer its dispensers free of charge was made by GripHero as its internationally-patented system is the world’s only static-safe, customer hand-protection product permitted in Zone 1 for fuelling, allowing its gloves to be withdrawn from the top of the fuel pump handle. The Association for Petroleum and Explosives Administration (APEA) acknowledged GripHero’s part in slowing the spread of Covid-19, presenting it with the 2021 Health and Safety Performance Award. Oli Yeo, inventor and Managing Director of GripHero, commented: “The Omicron Covid variant is causing huge concern among governments, scientists and health bodies. This needs to be taken seriously, especially when you consider that the first and least transmissible strain of Covid-19 was statistically shown to have contaminated the hands of over 50,000 UK drivers every day. “What’s vital for the public to understand, is that holding a fuel nozzle handle is not a light touch. Unlike pressing the buttons on a pay pad, it’s a firm grip for several minutes. During that time the palm and fingers come into direct contact with a surface that has been touched by hundreds of other users, many of whom could have Covid-19.”



UTC has always fancied himself as something of a bon viveur, so it was only natural that his ears pricked up when he heard that “the UK’s poshest haggis” was to be served at a Lake District hotel’s Burns supper. It turns out that the Borrowdale Hotel near Keswick was promising “a night to remember” by serving the traditional Scottish dish on a silver-plated carving trolley worth an estimated £25,000. This brought out the inner pedant that lurks at the heart of the Auld Yin’s bitter and twisted soul. “A 25 grand carving trolley does not a posh haggis make,” he ranted. “Katie Price turned up to her wedding in a horse-drawn glass carriage and nobody thought she was Cinderella. Except perhaps Peter Andre, god love him.” He then started scouring the internet for cheap haggis, discovering that you pick up a decent one for less than three quid. He even speculated that the Borrowdale might even be serving Grants Premium Haggis (RSP £1.50) straight out of the tin. This is a particular favourite of SLR’s resident ‘bon viveur’, especially on toast, but it would never be classed as posh – no matter how it was presented. “And what about the trolley’s white plastic castors?” asked UTC. “Even Katie Price wouldn’t give them house room.”


Britain is a nation of dog lovers, and UTC is no exception. Don’t think about asking him if Mick The Miller would have beaten Ballyregan Bob if the two greyhounds ever went head-to-head unless you have an hour or three to spare. Keeping a dog as a pet though? Naw. He’d rather send Mrs UTC a Valentine’s Day card. You can picture the scene when he discovered greetings card company Dotty About Paper has created a range of Valentine’s Day cards for dogs after seeing a more than 200% increase in internet searches for such a thing since the start of the year. He was madder than a pitbull in an electrified kennel. His outrage was dialled up to 11 when a colleague gently pointed out that Steven Stone Jewellers is punting a Valentine’s range of pendants and charms so that besotted owners can step out with their pooch wearing matching bling. The Auld Yin was aghast that Mr Stone was looking for a cool £999 for a nine carat yellow gold necklace tastefully adorned with five 2mm lab-grown gemstones and matching dog tag. Suddenly, spending a couple of quid on a card for Mrs UTC didn’t seem so unreasonable after all.



GIVE CHEESE A CHANCE Old enough to remember the Cuban missile crisis, UTC is understandably concerned about North Korea conducting ballistic missile tests, never mind the threat of war between Russia and Ukraine. However, the Auld Yin isn’t holding out much hope for Norway’s entry onto the world stage offering what he referred to as “brown cheese diplomacy”. The Scandinavian country took over the UN Security Council’s presidency at the start of the year and, as custom dictates, presented a symbolic gift to the council’s other member states. This consisted of something called Gubrandsdalsost – a traditional Norwegian brown caramel cheese. And, thoughtfully, a cheese slicer. Gubrandsdalsost translates as “the cheese that comes from Gudbrands Valley” so it’s little wonder it’s sold as ‘Ski Queen’ in the US. UTC doesn’t think Ski Queen is going to reduce tensions in eastern Europe. He’s not that demented – yet. However, he knows Kim Jong-Un is a fellow cheese lover, who picked up a taste for Emmental during his schooldays in Switzerland. So the Auld Yin suggested Norway should slide a block or two of brown caramel cheese across to North Korea to stop the notoriously sweet-toothed dictator lobbing bombs into the atmosphere. The Nobel Peace Prize is in the bag.

Financial Grants

Covid-19 Fund & Advice

Counselling & CBT Support

AI Emotional Support


Health and Wellbeing Online Wellbeing Community for ages 11-25 Family & Relationship Support Workplace Critical Incident Support

Wellbeing support for you and your team available 24/7

Managers Help & Information line Telephone Information Specialists Debt Advice

Gambling Support Scan the QR Code


08088 021 122 Follow us:

Money Advice

Legal Advice

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.