The new year is a time of resolution. Many will soon be overcome by temptation (in the case of alcohol and diet), or quarterly sales figures. And it’s my overwhelming sense that in 2013, there will be more of the same, ie hard times, and those darkly colourful and sometimes bonkers ingredients that makes our review of 2012 such a fascinating read.

Our opening issue of the year certainly sees some familiar topics revisited. Take below-cost alcohol legislation. In this week’s update, we report on the Scottish government’s expectation that Her Majesty’s Finest will be employed to police online deliveries of cheap alcohol that enter Scotland from south of the border. That’s right. The same officers who can’t be bothered to investigate home burglaries will somehow find the time to monitor the practice of legal and free trade between parties in two conjoining and closely linked countries.

“We know already that the major gains have come from online sales. And it’s clear that some of the supply chains out there aren’t up to scratch”

Adam Leyland, Editor

Another subject we touch upon is commodity inflation, which just won’t go away. Although the latest dairy report suggests the anticipated spike will be lower and later, there is enough latent inflation in the system to ensure there will still be inflationary pressure come next Christmas (not least on turkey prices), and that’s assuming the weather reverts to some sort of normality. It surely couldn’t get any worse, could it?

In terms of economic conditions, it certainly could: a reader poll in this week’s issue suggests 52% think conditions will worsen in 2013. With trade credit insurance claims doubling in 2012, and with supermarket share prices in the doldrums as volume sales decline, that’s a frightening prospect.

But if there’s one trend I expect to become even more important, it’s online. Even before next week’s Christmas trading figures are published, we know already that the major gains have come from online sales. And, as much as professional surveys, it’s clear from my own personal experience this Christmas, that some of the supply chains out there, and supporting customer service, aren’t up to scratch.

They say the final mile is the most costly. But it’s also the extra mile, and going there has never been more important.