Blog: Dean BestWhat lies ahead this year?

Dean Best | 2 January 2015

just-food is open today after a fun festive break. As you ease yourselves into the new year, take a look at what our team of writers think will be the key issues facing your businesses in 2015.

In an analysis looking at consumer trends, Katy Askew argues the impact of mobile technology and mass migration of global consumers online on product development will accelerate this year.

Indeed, 2015 is, according to Rabobank, set to be "the breakthrough year of online", presenting opportunities and challenges for food manufacturers, as explored by Hannah Abdulla here.

Our contributing editor and CSR specialist Ben Cooper believes the debate over sugar is likely to continue to rage, while manufacturers will need to pay increasing attention to their supply chains amid growing pressure from NGOs and their retail customers.

Progress in developing more sustainable supply chains as often come through co-operation between manufacturers and retailers. And, in weighing up how manufacturers can try to grow in 2015, our guest columnist IRI argue suppliers and their customers will have to work together in a number of ways, including smart category management according to stores and banners market specifics, the better use of data in range optimisation and stopping the escalation of promotions.

M&A is central to our coverage - today's news round-up had details of more deal-making in the industry over the festive period - and our M&A columnist, Stefan Kirk, took time to show how sellers could achieve better value for their businesses this year.

And our management briefing on 2015 was rounded off by a look at the prospects for a key emerging market this year - Asia. The - relatively speaking - sluggishness of the Chinese economy has been a subject of debate in recent months and the country looks set to see GDP growth slow in 2015, which will only intensify competition in an already tough market. However, the prospects for India look brighter and a number of countries in south-east Asia offer opportunities.

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