The dominant trend in the rice, noodles and pasta sectors continues to be convenience.

Consumers want tasty, wholesome food but they want to be able to prepare it in as short a time as possible, so microwaveable lines and other quick-to-cook products, such as stir fries, are doing well.

No new rice products this year have managed to create as much impact as the introduction of microwaveable pouch products from Uncle Ben's, Tilda and others did a couple of years ago.

However, the sector does keep growing and microwaveable rice is predicted to be worth more than dried rice before too long.

In pasta, the Napolina brand continues to perform well and leads in branded products.

We list the brand at MBL, even though own label tends to dominate across the dry pasta sector. We are also seeing growing consumer interest in premium pasta in different shapes and this trend looks likely to continue.

There haven't been any major surprises in any of the three main category strands but, as far as disappointments are concerned, the noodles sector has lacked innovation and has not yet grown in line with the rice market, while instant microwaveable pasta has been slow to take off.

Overall then, there has been some activity in the market and, in the future, with interest in convenience and sustainability growing, I would expect to see major developments coming through in both packaging and design, as much as in product development.