Given their recent public spats about unsubstantiated price claims, it was interesting to watch senior multiple figures greet each other with such gushing bonhomie at the IGD Convention on Tuesday. But away from that silly conflict, there were many positive features about the event. Indeed, the convention has come a long way since it was a day-long programme of monotonous lectern commercials from executives out to win brownie points with their CEOs. It's now the industry's most influential forum. Importantly, the day suggested that significant parts of the industry might finally be getting their act together in the campaign to unite the food chain, and, more importantly, ensure prosperity for all its constituents. Of course, we all know that when it comes to fair negotiations with the first hand producer, what the CEOs say at the IGD bash is not necessarily always effected by the executives in multiple buying departments. But judging by the coffee room chat at the Royal Lancaster Hotel on Tuesday, common sense may be beginning to prevail, with or without the DTI's long delayed code of practice. And as the wiser heads of the chain plotted an industry strategy path for 2002 and beyond, it was clear that IGD's influence and strength as a central coordinating and research body had further matured. But then, given that its ranks contain most of the best brains along the food chain, that is surely to be expected. So it will be interesting to see how the organisation evolves and responds as unexpected dramatic international political challenges put pressures on the sector. Meanwhile, there are whispers that certain leading multiple figures are talking about a new, centrally focused, food retailers' organisation to sit adjacent to the IGD and the FDF. And that's something that many interested parties, including this magazine, would favour. But for the moment the serious players and organisations are getting closer together and that has to be good news. Not only for grocery, but the entire food chain. Clive Beddall, Editor {{OPINION }}