Procter & Gamble UK vice president Irwin Lee came out all guns blazing this week with an upbeat forecast for the future of the grocery trade.

Speaking exclusively to The Grocer ahead of his speech at next week's annual IGD Convention, Lee said he would give the industry a much-needed confidence boost.

"There's a lot of doom and gloom in the air at the moment," he said. "Yes, uncertainty is still there and I'm not denying the challenges but as an industry, we need collectively to shape the future".

Multi-dimensional innovation, consumer-driven media and effective retail collaboration would drive growth, he said.

The credit crunch saw the consumer goods giant focus on vertical portfolio expansion with launches such as Pampers Simply Dry and Always Simply Fit, he said, but "blockbuster innovation" in health and beauty were planned for the near future.

Lee claimed he was "not worried" about recent M&A deals at rivals such as Unilever, which last week swooped on US haircare group Alberto Culver.

"We'll always entertain new ideas if they are a good fit but for the moment we have a very strong health and beauty innovation pipeline fantastic products that have been years in development," he said.

Working with retailers would be crucial to promote P&G's portfolio of brands, he added, and although new media could build consumer awareness, traditional media still had an important role to play.

"It isn't just about shifting from 'old' to 'new'," he said. "TV is still a very good mass-reach vehicle. It's more a question of multiple media and how you maximise the reach."

He added that he was not "hugely excited" by fears over inflation fed by rising input costs.

"People talk about whether it'll be 2% or 3%. At the recession's height we dealt with gross inflation as high as 9%. You have to deal with input cost inflation through your own cost-saving programmes. It's business as usual."