Tesco booker merge

2018 just got tougher

Sir, It’s no huge surprise to see that the Tesco-Booker deal has gone through (‘City snapshot,’ thegrocer.co.uk, 20 December) - only that it happened a little earlier than expected. It’s a good deal for both sides and will change the dynamics in the market permanently.

This year will be tough for both food manufacturing and food retail businesses in the UK and any improvements in buying power that are handed on will be welcomed. However, these are challenging times for many UK manufacturers with smaller producers already on their knees. They’re going to need support from retailers to survive next year. With fewer buying points now available, this decision by the CMA will not have been the best early Christmas present for everyone.

Catherine Shuttleworth, CEO, Savvy

Quick thinking on sugar

Sir, When the Public Health England report titled ‘Sugar reduction’ aired in June 2014, the ripples of change could be felt throughout food retail. Impregnable categories like soft drinks and juices went into freefall, while other opportunist categories like confectionery adopted ‘shrinkflation’ - a strategy where you charge exactly the same for less.

Jim Jams is an example of a brand that embraced ‘reduced sugar’ thinking, stealing a march on vast juggernaut brands that often struggle to change direction quickly.

Over the past 12 months, Jim Jams has become the biggest mover in the top 20 jams and spreads category (up 802%). Jim Jams sought to tackle child obesity without compromising on taste, which has already led to an alliance with Sugarwise, two Great Taste Awards and a Mumsnet accreditation.

Kevin Bath, co-founder, Jim Jams

November shutdown

Sir, Remembrance Sunday 2018 falls exactly on 11 November, exactly 100 years after the guns fell silent.

Both retail workers and owners have a common stake in a Remembrance Sunday as we all have had family members who have been in uniform. There is a hence a prima facie for full retail closure on Remembrance Sunday 2018, to enhance the qualities of peace and decorum and to enable more working people to be able to take part.

Retail would also benefit hugely as more goods would be brought prior to a one day closure and on reopening.

John Barstow, member, Usdaw Executive Council