This isn't just me being sentimental (for I like food retailing) or showing more evidence of my penchant for supporting lost causes (I'm also a lifelong supporter of Bradford City FC). No. Such gulfs can be dangerous. In the TMT boom in 1999 you couldn't give shares in your old economy' businesses away, except to Wal-Mart which bought Asda very cheaply. And in the months after Wal-Mart bought Asda, investors felt there was no future for UK food retailers they said even Tesco would be best served by selling out. Why do these disconnections between owner and occupier arise? I see two types of cause those that all industries suffer from and those particular to food retailing. Here are some that all industries suffer from. l The stock market is just that a market with buyers and sellers who, like everyone, have their moods. This means the share price isn't always an accurate reflection of worth'. l Investors have lots of investment choices types of asset, countries and companies. This means they are in a hurry. Unfairly, they pigeonhole industries and companies, hence food retailing is boring and low growth'. But it also means that, if you aren't growing this year, someone else in some other industry will be. Rightly, investors aren't charitable. They're paid to own shares that outperform not always the same as owning shares in good' businesses. l It's not about the past. Analysts drone on about return on investment and value added, but really what excites us is growth. Employ thousands, satisfy millions of customers, process billions of products safely but if you ain't growing we struggle to love you. However, there are reasons why food retailing is misunderstood: l Investors are self-styled experts on food retailing frustrated shopkeepers' you could call them. They're customers and so feel qualified to lecture food retailers on marketing and display. They would never dream of questioning BP's oil exploration process or Prudential's approach to structured life assurance products. Familiarity has bred contempt. l Food retailing's own marketing hype and the press/analysts' reaction to it don't help. There's little balanced coverage, nothing between price war' and oligopolistic margins'. Investors often believe what they read. One said to me: "The problem with UK food retailing is that it's more competitive than other industries. These companies have to be exceptional to be good that makes it hard for me to make money in their shares." Is it true, or what he's supposed to think? Don't despair. Differences in perception happen in every industry. But unless the gap gets alarmingly wide, leaving your business open to a predator, my advice is always: "Relax and don't take the share price personally!" Shareholders want managers to manage the business, not the share price. Become the best food retailer and you'll be rewarded because, while it's different in the short term, in the long run the stock market is an efficient market. It backs winners. {{COMMENT - GUEST }}