Online shopping

Vital missing links

Sir, Duncan Brewer’s article (‘Better fruit & veg online will be a winner’, Saturday Essay, 2 December, p22) raised an important issue, but I would argue that any shopper disinterest in online grocery runs much deeper than trusted access to fresh produce. It runs all the way to brands not embracing the full power of what an online listing provides.

Our own recent research showed that, out of a sample of some of this year’s newly launched product lines online, some six in 10 listings included errors. These ranged from key product details being left out to shortened product names. All would make listed products harder to find or for shoppers to buy. Much worse than this, some three-quarters of new product launches could be impossible for shoppers to find through the search function.

There is a gulf to be overcome before online grocery can truly mature and thrive. How can shoppers effectively transition if they can’t find what they’re looking for due to key information being missed? And how will brands ever see online as a potential equal to instore if they can’t prove it drives sustainable sales? The answer lies in the detail of these product listings.

John Maltman, CEO and founder, E Fundamentals

Working together

Sir, The suggestion there was a communication breakdown between Wrap and FDF ahead of the publication of their respective guidance documents on date labels and storage advice is incorrect (‘The Little Blue Fridge has a seriously big job to do on food waste’, the, 29 November). The publication of these complementary documents follows months of consultation with businesses and other stakeholders, as well as close collaboration between Wrap and FDF. Both organisations reviewed one another’s reports and provided support for the launch.

FDF is a signatory to Wrap Courtauld Commitment 2025 and the organisations collaborate closely in areas where we have a common interest. Alongside The Grocer’s Waste Not Want Not campaign, we are committed to reducing food waste, and hope to see ongoing and increased collaboration between all parties.

Dr Andrew Parry, special advisor food & drink Wrap, and Helen Munday, chief scientific officer, Food and Drink Federation

A case for closure?

Sir, In Germany they refer to Boxing Day more accurately as ‘second Christmas Day’. Some families may help out in the community with vulnerable people on Christmas Day, hence their Boxing Day becomes their Christmas Day to themselves.

If the UK followed suit with a Boxing Day closure, retail would be the major winner as more goods would be bought prior to a two-day Christmas closure. In the meantime Usdaw wishes Happy Christmas to readers of The Grocer.

John Barstow, member, Usdaw Executive Council