Craft in a brutal world

Sir, Your Hot Topic ‘Craft brewers will have to adapt fast to the brutal world of national retail’ struck a chord.

For these newly listed trendy brands, the work has just begun. Not only will these businesses have to replicate their quality at previously unprecedented levels of volume, they’ll also need to formulate and execute promotional plans.

It’s not uncommon for the first listing with a national retailer to represent a significant proportion of any small supplier’s total business, so a later negative range review by a retailer can be devastating. The key for any craft brewer is to quickly use any new retail listing as a springboard for further distribution elsewhere. They can then avoid over-reliance on any one retail customer.

Gareth Bird, MD, GBA Marketing

Optimisation of online

Sir, A recent Mintel report suggesting one in seven Britons are doing all their food shopping online means many grocery suppliers will need to upskill their sales, category and marketing teams to ensure they are equipped to capitalise. This will mean looking hard at their trade investment and marketing budgets to ensure a balance in spend across all channels and enough investment to engage and attract new online shoppers. It is becoming even more important to optimise digital shelf activation and amplify online communication using the right messages at the right point of the online shopper journey. It is essential that manufacturers have winning channel strategies that also create a seamless omnichannel shopping experience. Other research shows up to 70% of in-store sales are influenced by an online search - the ‘e-commerce halo effect’.

Nick Kirby, e-commerce director, Bridgethorne

Backing British

Sir, Our fresh produce industry faces a perfect storm of growing input costs, scarce temporary labour and intense competition from imports.

A Nielsen study in May last year revealed that half of UK consumers prefer their groceries to be British. But the ‘British’ brand needs to stand for values consumers are prepared to pay for, such as better animal welfare, higher environmental standards and superior quality, as well as local provenance. And this needs to be communicated to shoppers with an industry-wide campaign that has broad support and funding.

Michael Bennett, MD, Pelican Communications