This website uses cookies. By continuing to browse our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can learn more about cookies by visiting our privacy & cookies policy page.

The best quotes from a packed news agenda in 2017

A supplier on Brexit negotiation
“It’s a phoney war this government is fighting. This deal in the end will look awful”

Liam Fox on forging a deal post Brexit
“The only reason we wouldn’t come to a free and open agreement is because politics gets in the way”

Tesco’s Dave Lewis on growing redistribution
“If we keep up the current pace, redistributed food could reach around 11-12,000 tonnes in the next financial year. That’s a hell of a lot of progress”

Aldi’s Matthew barnes hits back at critics
“People will say what they want to say, they have their own agendas, and I understand that. But the idea that Aldi is plateauing is nonsense”

A Nisa source on how to sell the Co-op deal to members
“The Nisa board need to strike the right balance between saying ‘you’re all doomed’ without shooting themselves in the foot if it doesn’t get through”

Charles Wilson criticises anti-merger ‘little islanders’
“Your responsibility as a wholesaler should be to do a better job within wholesale for [your] constituencies, rather than hope that the government protects your little island”

Professor Chris Elliott on food safety
“Food fraud is a global phenomenon and likely to escalate in severity. The last thing we should do in these Brexit times is to relax”

FSA chief Heather Hancock on industry relationships
“It’s not about being bezzy mates. It’s knowing that if you’ve got a relationship and an understanding, you will become a better regulator”

The Recycling Association’s CEO Simon Ellin on Pringles
“What idiot designed this packaging?”

A former executive on Ssda’s outgoing chief executive
“Sean is a good guy. He’s brought the right focus to Asda and it was a really big ask, but I’ve also heard he was a very blunt instrument. Roger is far more culturally aligned with Asda”

January
On a positive note, the major mults all had a reasonably merry Christmas, helped by inflation and the fact the day itself fell on a Sunday. But Poundworld was haemorrhaging pound coins as it slipped into the red, High Noon Stores fell into administration and inflation in meat and poultry showed complete disregard for the January sales. .

Most read articles:
1 Tesco & Booker to merge in £3.7bn deal
2 Tesco GM boss jumps ship to eBay UK
3 Morrisons CEO pays tribute to company veteran Mark Harrison

February
As Dave Lewis and Charles Wilson shook hands on a mega-merger between Tesco and Booker, Kraft Heinz tried, and failed, to snap up Unilever in an audacious bid of its own. Meanwhile, Brexit began hiking up the costs of bread, beans and beer in our baskets, The Grocer revealed, with shoppers all set to abandon brands that passed on the inevitable inflationary impact of our planned exit from the European Union.

Most read articles:
1 Waitrose to close six stores
2 Tesco orders promotion checks after damning BBC investigation
3 Power List 2017: the 100 leaders, thinkers and agitators shaping the grocery industry

March
Tesco’s Dave Lewis spoke out on the risks that irresponsible redistribution of surplus food could mean for efforts to bring an end to waste, Nestlé chief Fiona Kendrick called for greater regulation to tackle the obesity epidemic, and grocer adjudicator Christine Tacon announced a probe into forecasting practises.

Most read articles:
1 Recipe box service HelloFresh launches meal kits in Sainsbury’s
2 Tesco takes an axe to Heineken range in major reset
3 Air Wick kicks off £2m push for V.I.Poo loo spray

April
As P&H secured what it hoped would be a lifesaving finance deal, BrewDog lost a little of its hipster edge by selling up a 22% stake in the company to private equity suits. Peperami and Doritos jumped on the shrinkflation bandwagon. Waitrose entered the recipe box race with its Cook Well range. Booker retailers remained divided over the merger with Tesco.

Most read articles:
1 10 Things You Need To Know About... Snacking
2 George Clooney and Ian McShane are having fun with Nespresso
3 New Caffè Nero app could spell end of paper loyalty cards

May
Just as an embattled P&H was put up for sale a thriving Aldi revealed to The Grocer its ambitious plans to quadruple stores across the UK. Seven months after ‘Marmitegate’ Tesco finally put up prices on the spread and Asda caused an unexpected stir with its plan to phase out loose fruit & veg, sparking outcry from eco-campaigners and single person households alike.

Most read articles:
1 10 Things You Need To Know About... Soft Drinks
2 Sainsbury’s revamps food-to-go range to include 21 new products
3 Tesco unveils new vegan logo for own-label products

June
Six months ahead of the big day an outbreak of avian flu threatened to push up the price of our Christmas turkey, Groceries Code Adjudicator Christine Tacon read the riot act to supermarkets that were guilty of multiple breaches of the code, and tobacco brands found themselves stripped bare of brand impact as new plain packaging rules came into force.

Most read articles:
1 Sainsbury’s and M&S suspend links with Real Junk Food Project
2 Sainsbury’s faces public backlash over fox killing
3 Tesco to axe 1,200 jobs at its head office

July
It was a tough month for some of the mults with Tesco axing 1,200 jobs at its head office and Sainsbury’s grilled by MPs over its very public spat with Fairtrade. Mondelez made similar moves of its own to go solo. The Grocer 33 celebrated 20 years of tracking the high and lows of the British supermarket shop with a brand new look.

Most read articles:
1 Chlorinated chicken explained: why do the Americans treat their poultry with chlorine?
2 Lidl makes non-food ‘middle aisle’ star of new TV advert – video
3 Tesco partners with Uber as Clubcard gets major revamp

August
The mults ended up with egg on their face in August as the fipronil scandal widened its grip, classic Heinz ketchup began oozing sales and B&M swept in for Heron Foods in a shock £152m deal. Oh, and the NHS began offering food discounts in exchange for getting up off the couch.

Most read articles:
1 Walkers risks flavours in Choose Me Or Lose Me push
2 Fipronil egg contamination scandal: what you need to know now
3 Revealed: How free-from sales surged by a whopping £230m

September
The ‘will they, won’t they’ saga of the Nisa sale continued in September as the Co-Op entered into exclusive talks with the independent retailer group. Elsewhere PHE took a break from sugar to declare war on calories, Starbucks agreed to begin tackling waste in its high street branches and exclusive research by The Grocer showed key grocery lines could rise 30% without a zero tariff deal post-Brexit.

Most read articles:
1 Five of the most talented young people working in dairy right now
2 The Dairymen digital special: Do Brits think dairy is scary?
3 A lost generation: How to bring the young back to breakfast

October
2 Sisters found itself in the spotlight after a damning expose at one of its chicken factories, while coconut water faced similar scrutiny after an FSA investigation found added sugar in a number of well-known brands. In better news Iceland’s Malcolm Walker was crowned the winner of the prestigious Grocer Cup and US ice cream sensation Halo Top geared up for a much anticipated UK launch.

Most read articles:
1 Winners of Top New Talent awards 2017 chosen
2 Low-calorie ice cream sensation Halo Top is coming to the UK
3 Tesco shakes up commercial team with changes to buying

November
This was the month The Grocer kicked off the next phase of its major Waste Not Want Not campaign, launching a petition with 10 Downing Street to help deliver 100,000 tonnes more surplus. Elsewhere, it emerged that sales of Lucozade were falling in the wake of its new low-sugar energy drink reformulation, Pipers Crisps hired advisors to lay the groundwork for sale, and Waitrose trialled its wine home-tasting service.

Most read articles:
1 Echo Falls launches into spirits market with flavoured vodka
2 Incoming Asda CEO Roger Burnley announces leadership team shakeup
3 Nisa members accept £137m Co-op bid in historic vote

December
Disaster struck for 4,500 employees at Palmer & Harvey as the wholesaler plunged into administration, Kellogg’s axed classic cereal Ricicles as part of its sugar reset and Christmas shoppers grew hungry for deals.

Most read articles
1 Tony Reed tells P&H colleagues and customers: ‘I’m sorry’
2 Waitrose launches £35 Christmas wreath decorated with sprouts
3 Taking the biscuit: one in five Brits scoff whole cookie packs