The one thing that is constant about this industry is that it is constantly changing. Like me, you have probably heard that phrase ­ or something similar ­ uttered dozens of times in recent months. It has rapidly become grocery's newest cliché. But the reason it is doing the rounds is that all of us recognise the truth in the words. And all of us know that only those who embrace change have a chance of prospering while those that do not ­ or cannot ­ face a pretty bleak future.
Easily said, I know, because many companies must feel they are about to be swept away by a tsunami.
You don't have to look too far for examples. Just think about the ramifications of the Safeway auction for those smaller suppliers which do the bulk of their business with the chain. What strategies ­ if any ­ can they implement to cope with the fact they could lose that business within a matter of months?
Turn to page 32 of this week's issue and you can read how factory gate pricing is going to continue revolutionising primary distribution ­ whether suppliers like it or not (and I know plenty do not). Here the message from retailers is pretty clear: embrace this change; don't fight it.
But despite everything going on around us, some things don't change. Such as the fact this industry is still built on the strength of the relationships that exist between buyers and sellers. All too often we hear about what happens when those relationships turn sour. So to redress the balance, we have launched a new monthly feature called Six of the Best in which we profile those buyers that suppliers most admire. You can read it on page 19.
There's one other thing that doesn't change: despite everything thrown at it, the grocery industry continues to evolve, innovate and prosper. That's why we have launched The Grocer Gold Awards. We want to celebrate the business excellence that is being demonstrated across all sectors of the industry. If you want to be part of that process ­ and have a chance of joining us at Claridge's on June 11 ­ read our story on page 4 and then make sure you get in touch for more details.