If some of the more memorable themes of this year's Top Products Survey seem familiar own-label losing share to brands; promotions reaching record levels; food price inflation; supplier consolidation; and the revival of several big brands, as well as retro launches that's because you're a reader of The Grocer, and we've been informing you on these topics, breaking exclusive stories, offering exclusive insights, throughout the past 50 issues.

We also said, just over a year ago, that if you were going to be in one sector in this recession, grocery was a good one to pick. And so it has proved. Though it took blood, sweat and a few tears, no doubt, volume sales increased by 0.9%. So maybe the downturn won't trim the nation's waistline after all.

There are also some significant surprises. Stories that by the time you read this (buy your own copy!) may already be national news. For example, while frozen foods were expected to benefit from recession, the endless promotion of the category actually delivered volume declines. Volume sales of chewing gum fell. So too chocolate confectionery. And sales of water yes, water increased. Who knew?

But the survey isn't just about overarching themes. It's also about individual success stories, all the more stirring in this climate. Like the resurgence of Hovis; and the serious challenge Wilkinson and King of Shaves are mounting to the all-powerful Gillette. Or the stunning growth of Ella's Kitchen and Veetee Rice. Or top new launches such as Ariel Excel Gel, Arctic Roll, Bake to Perfection, Innocent Squeezies.

We've also picked our top ad campaigns, including my personal favourite, for Robinsons Be Natural. In fact, if it's stats and colour you want as well as a comprehensive take on the 67 leading categories in the grocery sector fill your boots. We've got them here over the next 160 pages (Top Poducts Survey 2009). Happy reading (and Christmas, of course).

Read more:
Top Poducts Survey 2009 (19 December 2009)
The lad delivers: Hovis is the Top Product of 2009 (19 December 2009)