Adam Leyland hopes The Big 30 wholesalers can rise to today's competitive challenges posed by the inexorable expansion of the major multiples into the domain of convenience retailing. However, he also reveals aspects of his own lifestyle that, in part, create those challenges (The Grocer, 27 January, p3).

More important than the ingredients of his meal - fresh tuna, rocket salad, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh-baked ciabatta, grapes and stilton - was the fact his shopping expedition to Tesco Express took place at 8.30pm on a Sunday evening. Only a generation ago we would never have dreamt of buying those items on a Sunday evening. Not because that generation lacked culinary imagination - but simply because it would have been impossible to buy those things on a Sunday night. How times change.

Have our lifestyle demands created an opportunity to which the Tescos and Marks & Spencers of this world have responded? Or is the relentless drive of the multiples affording us the opportunity to live life in the fast lane?

It is simplistic to examine the complex issue of the power of the multiples without regard for the wider social context in which they operate. There are those who loathe the power of supermarkets for what has been described as its corrosive effect on farming and our food culture.

For the vast majority of consumers, however, it's simply a matter of convenience. Consumers have voted with their pound and are blinkered to any wider considerations. Leyland admits it himself when he says he walked five doors past his local corner shop to a new Tesco Express. Like countless other consumers, he went to where he got the best deal and the greatest satisfaction. It serves to confirm that on this issue, as on many others, there is a disconnect between consumer attitudes and consumer behaviour. That's the reality in which the Competition Commission must consider the issue.