Kevin Harrison Costcutter trading manager It would be fair to say the past 12 months have been unspectacular as far as the biscuit category is concerned. The major biscuit suppliers have found it difficult to drive growth in a static' marketplace and what NPD there was took the form of range extensions rather than range development. That said, biscuits remains a very important category and fully justifies the generous fixture allocations it is given. The biscuit archives will show 2000 as the year when biscuit suppliers tried to relocate their brands away from the traditional biscuit fixture. The introduction of tube variants across the McVitie's range (Digestives/Jaffa Cakes/Hob Nobs) is an example of biscuits joining the emerging eat now' market. This movement is set to take the products out of the home and into different eating occasions and sees biscuits sitting alongside sandwiches, soft drinks and other snacks in the food to go cabinet. The year 2000 saw continued support for low fat biscuits such as McVitie's Go Ahead! range. These products operate in a niche market where the multiples are making the best gains through devoting a wall of low fat biscuits that health conscious shoppers find difficult to ignore. In the independent sector ­ Go Ahead! Chocolate Caramel Crunch aside ­ we are not enjoying similar benefits for two reasons. Firstly, our consumer profile dictates a more traditional and diverse range to satisfy consumer requirements and secondly, everybody has different favourites so space on the fixture is at a premium. Looking ahead, retailers can look forward to much of a muchness in 2001. The eat now' market will grow stronger as biscuit suppliers invent ways to get in on the action. We wait with bated breath to see whether the purchase of Burtons Biscuits by HMT&F makes any waves in a currently still water. {{MARKETING }}