Don Williams Chief executive officer, PI Globa


Sir; The demise of Campbell's was, given the way it has been managed over the years, sadly inevitable and actually had nothing to do with it being a heritage brand ('Are heritage brands a thing of the past?' The Grocer, 6 October, p31).

Any brand that has not been separated in the consumers mind from a functional product will eventually fall over.

Campbell's the brand had a great, even iconic name, but it was unfortunately intrinsically linked to 'the thing in the tin' - condensed soup.

While some feeble attempts were made at launching new product lines under the umbrella, they were doomed to failure because the 'umbrella' was tins of condensed soups. There was little substance behind the brand other than a product that became irrelevant to consumer's lives (not counting the Andy Warhol thing, which gave it its 15 minutes of fame).

Brands based on products and functional attributes will eventually fade away.

If Coca-Cola had been built solely on the promise of a carbonated soft drink with vegetable extracts, I wonder how long it would have been around?

We have not lost our innocence Adam Balon Co-founder, Innocent

Sir; In response to Steve Kelsey's letter claiming Innocent has lost its innocence, when I set up Innocent more than eight years ago with Richard and Jon, we were clear we wanted to run a business we could be proud of when we were old ('Innocence drops off the credibility scale', The Grocer, Letters, 20 October, p28).

We continue to find the best-possible team to help us deliver our values, make fantastic drinks from nothing but fruit, and work to reduce our impact on the planet.

We always welcome visitors to Fruit Towers for a chat - Steve or anyone else. And the reason we have our banana phone is so that drinkers and customers can give us honest feedback, good and bad. That way, we can discuss the things they are interested in, explain how and why we make the choices we do, and change things where we need to improve.

Be grateful for the Chorleywood process Gordon Polson Director, Federation of Bakers

Sir; I was not wholly surprised by Joanna Blythman slating high street sandwiches because she seems to single-handedly take pride in regularly bashing an industry that has a UK household penetration figure of 99% ('British sarnies are still rubbish', The Grocer, 13 October, p21).

The Chorleywood Bread Process was introduced into the British baking industry in 1961, and revolutionised bread production by bringing the loaf of bread to the masses as part of a healthy, nutritionally balanced diet.

Not only did it facilitate larger-scale production of bread, it also provided a longer shelf life.

The process is no more than a way of using mechanical energy in the form of high-speed mixing to develop the dough into the correct state for proving and baking.

British people eat more than nine million loaves of bread every day which would not be possible without the Chorleywood Bread Process.

Tesco: no, we do not flout planning rules Jonathan Church Media director, Tesco

Sir; Last week's article suggesting that Tesco flouts the planning laws was the sort of fantasy journalism one would expect from The Grocer's columnist Don Pumsey rather than your serious news journalists ('Tesco: yes we flout the planning rules', The Grocer, 20 October, p5).

I was amazed at the ease with which you allowed an anonymous official to make false accusations against Tesco without providing any evidence of his claims or even examples of where he feels we have acted improperly. As our response in the article makes clear, we always talk to planning officials about our intentions for making small changes to stores that require planning permission and only proceed ahead of receiving formal permission if they support the changes and are happy for us to do so. If your source has information to the contrary then I urge you to provide it to me so we can investigate.

The planning regime in this country is bureaucratic and slow and that is something we would like to see change so that consumers can benefit from store improvements, such as environmentally friendly wind turbines or quieter refrigeration plant, more quickly. But rules are rules and we respect the process that is in place, no matter how frustrating it can sometimes be.

Keep employment laws nice and simple Alan Tyrrell Employment chairman, Federation of Small Businesses

Sir; The Federation of Small Businesses has always supported its members when it comes to employment law with advice, information and an ever-popular legal helpline. But the fact of the matter is that it is the government that is producing so much employment legislation and it is the government that should be taking responsibility for ensuring that laws are realistic, practical and understandable.

The relentless, one-size-fits-all approach to employment law has got to stop. All the evidence shows that small businesses can create more wealth and more jobs when employment laws are simple and flexible.

Small businesses do so much for the UK economy and local communities, employing twelve million people and contributing more than 50% of UK GDP.

The fact that a third of them are deciding not to employ people demonstrates that the burden of employment law is unacceptable.

For evidence of this, look no further than the rocketing numbers of employment tribunal claims in the past few years.