Batchelar says the team works with buyers and technologists and other departments. "Product developers work with all areas including marketing, design, buying, technical and retail roles. And we have introduced a quality management element into the team."
Their work has helped to generate key products, including the cross-category Eat Smart range, and broad ranges that include Italian, American, Traditional and Eat Street. The npd developers also focus on products for specific seasons, for example Hallowe'en, and have worked throughout the year on Safeway's Christmas range, which Batchelar says is 20% bigger than it was last year. "Convenience has been a strong focus, so the range offers many prepared products."
Several projects are under way for 2003, including the relaunch in February of Safeway's premium range The Best. "Events will play an important part. Our focus will be on dates such as Mother's Day, St Valentine's Day and our own highlights such as Party in the Park. Our development will continue to emphasise categories where we wish to be famous', such as prepared foods."