computer online

Not so fast, David

Sir, David Sables’ suggestion that ‘the next 10 years will see grocery move completely online’ is a significant overstatement. In recent months growth has slowed considerably, almost halving since August to stand at just over 5%. We expect online to account for just 12% of UK grocery by 2025.

This accurately reflects the very real challenges grocery faces as our lives move online. So many aspects of it are physical. Consumers still want to see and feel the quality of products, enjoying the variety of options and the excitement of in-store promotions. Retailers still struggle to reconcile the high costs of online delivery with narrow margins, while the discounters show little sign of moving seriously online.

Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight, Kantar Worldpanel

Get smart on forecasting

Sir, The GCA is right to highlight the challenges faced by suppliers when retailer ordering differs significantly from forecast, but extrapolating this to suggest that millions of tonnes of food is being ploughed back into the ground because of supermarkets is a huge leap. Where is the evidence for this?

Supermarkets have made substantial improvements to forecasting over the past 10 years, and it is incumbent on suppliers to analyse, understand and challenge forecasts so they can prepare and supply reasonable volumes. They need the necessary analytical skills to interpret forecasts in the light of historic performance so they can assess likely true demand. Those suppliers who better understand demand, who can challenge forecasts, and add value to their retail customers beyond the supply of goods, develop trusted relationships.

The value chain is no longer dominated by retailers. As relationships move from parent-child to adult-adult, suppliers have to play their part in a grown-up conversation.

Guy Cuthbert, MD, Atheon Analytics

Yet another logo?

Sir, Are we a nation of halfwits? (‘The Little Blue Fridge has a seriously big job to do on food waste,’, 29 November). On an average day most adults can distinguish if their food is edible or not, irrespective of the sell-by date. Surely if it smells bad don’t eat it!!? This would make more sense than another logo to add to the plethora of logos that appear to confuse shoppers.

Anonymous, via the