Delegates at the West Australian (WA) Q Lamb AGM in Narrogin were told that the future success of their products in supermarket retailing lay with "private labels" and fresh produce, which will become increasingly popular as consumers return to home cooking.

Rod McPhee, of Perth-based Action Supermarkets, largely attributed the considerable growth of the business over the past five years to its focus on private labelling. This focus, he explained, was characteristic of a world supermarket trend. In the UK, 40% of all food sold in major supermarkets is private label, and that figure is 38% in the US.

Furthermore, through its approach Action actually increased sales of Q Lamb significantly last year, defying a general world trend of declining meat consumption by increasing the space for meat cabinets in its new stores.

McPhee added during his speech that food manufacturers and producers should be prepared for an international consumer trend towards traditional home cooking, prompting a growth of sales of cookbooks.

Flying against the observation of market watchers elsewhere, McPhee commented: "There was a trend five or six years ago to quick, ready prepared meals - it failed and the trend has turned again to home cooking.

"The trends of eating have reversed quite quickly - we're going back to basics."