Vince Bamford

As suppliers count the cost of range rationalisation on listings, we this week reveal another casualty - NPD.

The number of food launches has crashed by a third, prompting observers to suggest it’s time big brands learnt they can’t rely on safe NPD: a new pack format here, a tweak to a flavour here. The sort of thing that will squeeze out a little extra value for minimal risk.

Rationalisation will undoubtedly clear out some of the dead wood and force the major players to justify every new launch. Alongside this may come an opportunity for smaller players - likely more nimble than the behemoths of grocery - to deliver the innovative and relevant NPD retailers are demanding.

But what if smaller businesses cannot support their launch in terms of marketing, price promotions or listings fees? Will they just as quickly lose their newly won spot in store?

Buyers must be careful to balance the support needed to develop new suppliers with the pressure retailers are under to make shelf space pay its way. And remember that they can’t have their cake and eat it.