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”The word innovation has been so over-used in marketing departments that its meaning has become skewed”

True innovators are rare

Sir, The word innovation has been so over-used in marketing departments that its meaning has become skewed, to the point where iterative and incremental changes to products are now heralded as innovation.

TerraCycle, on the other hand, is doing something different with its Loop initiative: a way of radically reducing single-use plastics. Based on the milkman model, they’re working with everyday fmcg brands (P&G, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Unilever) to provide a circular service that delivers and collects reusable packaging from consumers, and refills them for up to 100 uses.

To me, this is true innovation because it gives brands the opportunity to delight consumers twice, by combining sustainable credentials with an elevated brand experience. This is crucial at a time when consumers expect brands to deliver on both sustainability and exceptional experiences.

Jon Tipple, chief strategy officer worldwide, FutureBrand

Competition in the supers

Sir, Following the latest news on the Sainsbury’s-Asda merger, it’s clear the changing landscape is causing retailers to implement new tactics in order to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive market.

Currently, much of this competition is driven by Aldi and Lidl, who while winning on discounting have smaller product ranges. To compete, supermarkets must focus on pricing or experience and quality. In the short term, this merger will allow Asda and Sainsbury’s to compete on price, but in the long term, they must use data to improve their supply chains and category planning, and get products in store more cheaply and efficiently.

Mike Callender, executive chairman, REPL Group

High streets: go digital

Sir, Consumer shopping habits are rapidly changing and today’s convenience of digital engagement means many of us prefer to head online than to our local high street.

Stores should be looking to adapt their approach and aim to offer convenience in store. In a recent poll commissioned by HSO, 73% of consumers indicated they would like to see screens in stores. This allows customers to search products and check availability, enabling them to order to their home or to collect in store if their desired product is unavailable.

Hector Hickmott, retail sales director, HSO