Independent retailer Nigel Mills told the summit he had struggled to get to grips with wastage as he upgraded his fresh and chilled offer, but was committed to getting it right.

Though fresh and chilled was the group's core focus for 2007, Mills admitted wastage in this fixture was averaging 10% across the stores in which he had rolled out his revamped offer. This was significantly higher than the industry average of 1% to 2%, he said.

However, he predicted that wastage would fall as the fixtures reached maturity. "It normally takes three years to get the supply chain and offer right," he said. "We are working hard to control our waste and stock levels and have to operate a zero-tolerance policy on incompetence for our staff."

The group has adapted its offer to suit different store sizes and locations, having originally tried to develop a one-size-fits-all approach, he added. "We have a range of supply options from NisaChill and Kerry Foods as well as milk from Dairy Farmers of Britain. We have had to match the supply chain to each store."

Mills now operates separate fresh and chilled strategies for CTNs, c-stores and large c-stores, with fixture cabinets ranging from four to 20 metres in length.

Weekly, the group is selling £500 to £1,000 of fresh lines in CTNs and up to £20,000 in larger stores. The company has also been running promotions on short-life products to help reduce wastage.