1990… Food Safety Act… After a series of high-profile food scares, the Food Safety Act is introduced to ensure that food intended for human consumption is treated in a controlled and managed way and presented and labelled correctly. The punishment for those that fail to abide by the new Food Safety Act is severe. Fall foul of the law and companies are liable to a £20,000 fine per offence, with a maximum prison term for individuals of six months.

1990… Asda hits the catwalk… Asda breaks new ground when it launches the George fashion label. Named after chief designer George Davies, the founder of high-street fashion favourite Next, today the brand is the fourth-largest retailer of clothing in the UK, according to Mintel.

1990… Aldi opens first… UK store Aldi touches down in Birmingham in 1990, bringing the no-frills concept to a British public. The unfamiliar brand names were intriguing, but it was the jaw-dropping prices that got people shopping. Lidl follows suit four years later.

1991… Organic chocolate launches… William Kendall, founder of New Covent Garden soup, introduces the concept of organic chocolate to UK consumers with the launch of Green & Black’s. The brand is later sold to rival Cadbury’s in 2005 for £20m.

1992… Fairtrade formed… The Fairtrade Foundation launches to ensure that producers in the developing world receive a decent wage. It also works towards improving working conditions. The Fairtrade logo is now a familiar sight in UK supermarkets.

1993… Tesco adds Value… In August, just months after the end of the recession, Tesco launches its Value range with 70 SKUs. At the time of its launch, analysts describe Value as both a response to the discounters and a realisation that Tesco “would never be Sainsbury’s”. In addition to being a hit with cash-strapped shoppers, the Value range became a cult icon after street artist Banksy produced Warholesque prints featuring Value soup tins.

1994… The c-store Express... Tesco shows its growing interest in smaller store formats by launching the trial of its first two Express convenience stores, then a combination of a petrol station and a c-store in London. Its c-store portfolio is further bolstered by the purchase of T&S Stores in 2002, with the retailer converting many of the One Stop and Day & Nite stores to the Express format. By May this year, Tesco was operating almost 1,100 Express stores.

1994… MMB abolished… Formed in 1933 to protect farmers by setting the farmgate price of milk, the Milk Marketing Board was seen by some as a hindrance to free trade. Its abolition transforms the milk market almost overnight.

1994… The Sunday Trading Act… Until this year, the only places open to shoppers on a Sunday were c-stores, garden centres and chemists. A year later, supermarkets can now sell booze, too, as the Licensing (Sunday Hours) Act 1995 bangs another nail in the office’s coffin.

1994… National Lottery… With cigarette sales gradually declining, what would the trade have done without the National Lottery? An invaluable footfall driver for independents and supermarkets alike, sales have declined in recent years, but at least there’s PayPoint.

1994… 24-hour trading… Until 3 November 1994, shoppers can only visit a shop after 8pm or 9pm one day a week - if its owner is willing to flout the law. After that date, retailers can legally open 24 hours a day, much to the delight of the nation’s insomniacs.

1994… Food miles… Professor Tim Lang coins this phrase in a ground-breaking report exploring the wider social and ecological implications of international food trade, challenging the industry on its environmental impact and raising public consciousness of the issue

1995… Loyalty pays… When a Tesco exec investigating loyalty cards catches a speech by one of the founders of marketing firm Dunnhumby, the world of retail changes forever. It’s hard to overstate the role Clubcard has played in Tesco’s success thanks to its 15m users.

1995… EU bans the lb… High-street greengrocers were up in arms when the EU declared shoppers could no longer buy a pound of spuds. Imperial scales were seized and market traders prosecuted and fined. It took more than a decade to repeal the meddlesome law.

1995… Guideline Daily Amounts… Retailers, food and drink manufacturers and nutritionists get together to develop guidelines for back-of-pack nutrition labelling. Three years later they announce Guideline Daily Amounts (GDAs) for sugar, salt and fat amongst others.

1996… Dolly the sheep born… The public’s fears about what science might do to our food become all the more real when scientists introduce Dolly, the world’s first cloned mammal. Ten years later, the US approves the sale of meat from cloned animals but debate over its use continues in the EU. Unfortunately there wasn’t to be an happy ending for Dolly. A decision was taken to “euthanase” the six-year-old sheep in 2003 after a veterinary examination showed that she had a progressive lung disease.

1996… Town Centre First… ‘Town centre first’ is introduced in an effort to revive ailing town centres. However, the current fortunes of the high street compared with out-of-town development (80% of current applications are for out-of-town) suggest too little, too late

1996… EDI comes of age… Although the technology is introduced in the 1970s, it is in the mid-90s that EDI truly comes of age with grocery retailers and suppliers using it to automate transactions. Today the sector makes more than 27 million orders via EDI annually.

1997… Diageo created… Guinness and GrandMet come together to form Diageo. Over the next four years the drinks goliath ditches all the GrandMet food businesses – including Burger King and Pillsbury – to focus on drinks supply, as the world’s largest spirits producer

1998… Doing an Innocent… Innocent didn’t actually invent the smoothie but it certainly created the fixture as we know it today. But ‘doing an Innocent’ extends far beyond smoothies: it developed a new marketing art form that’s one part cutesy and one part right-on.

1998… Tesco Finest launches… Three-tier retailing - good, better, best - comes into being when the Tesco Finest range joins its standard and Value ownlabel offers. It kicks off in 200 stores that have been selected using data from the retailer’s newfangled Clubcard.

1998… The Delia effect… Egg sales climb 10% after Delia Smith’s How To Cook series airs. Since then the ‘Delia effect’ has been used to describe what happens when supermarket shelves are suddenly emptied of particular items the TV chef recommends.

1998… Coffee culture froths up… It’s now as omnipresent on UK high streets as vacant shops, but in 1998 Starbucks was an exciting novelty. Customers may have struggled to order mumbo-jumbo sounding coffees in unusual sizes - venti, grande and tall (sic) - but nowadays asking for a skinny decaf mocha choca flat latte with hazelnut syrup sounds like a perfectly normal thing to say. Crucially the chain kickstarted the UK’s coffee shop culture and spawned a number of copycats. A decade ago there were 1,382 branded coffee chains in the UK; today there are more than 4,500.

1999… Tesco spreads its wings… Tesco sets up its first overseas operation when it enters into a joint venture with electronics giant Samsung in South Korea. Its Homeplus business becomes the company’s most successful international outpost, as it grows into a global giant

1999… Commodities deregulation… Not since the 1930s have food commodities been subject to so much external influence. The seismic commodity hikes of the last few years can be traced back to 1999, when the Commodities Futures Trading Commission deregulated futures markets

1999… Wal-Mart snaps up Asda… The sleeping giant of UK retail was awakened from its slumber by Archie Norman and Allan Leighton in the 1990s. The debt-laden company becomes a mouth-watering takeover target for US retail behemoth Wal-Mart, which pays £6.7bn for the chain