One of the biggest issues is the growth of added value, which is phenomenal and looks set to continue. This means buyers have to be more consumer-focused in an area which was traditionally supplier led. Added value here could mean ready-to-cook products, such as those with foil trims, or products with toppings or seasonings.
Pricing is also an issue. Retailers such as Asda are damaging the category by driving the price of products lower than is necessary.

How can suppliers be more helpful to retailers?
The best suppliers are those with their own brand and a dedicated marketing team. They understand the market already and have pre-prepared data and product lists. Tapping into their research is useful.

What new product ideas are you working on?
The Co-operative Group is introducing 20 new barbecue lines, merchandised together and packaged in the same style. Products include minted lamb burgers and kebabs. We've developed barbecue packs of four sausages, two burgers and two kebabs for our convenience stores.
Products retail between £1.59 and £2.79, driven by multi-buy promotions, and go into stores from May 19.
Simply Cook will be launched on September 1 and will include several foiled products for the single person. And we're going back to basics, looking at gaps in our range for traditional, family and two-person products.

How does this job differ from your previous posts?
It combines every post I've had. I was a project manager for the Co-operative Retail Society's dairy site four years ago, then worked in project management for Quality Meat Scotland. The difference with this role is that I am selling to consumers rather than to the trade.