Food manufacturers looking for retail support for new products need to consider seasonality, on-trend ingredients and events when pitching to buyers, an industry conference has heard.

Debbie Robinson, managing director of the UK arm of symbol retailer Spar International, said suppliers would be likely to secure listings if their products were “absolutely on-trend”, “seasonally relevant” or “event-based”.

“One of the growth dynamics in the discounters, particularly in the fixed-price, high-street discounters, is how they have been brilliant in bringing seasonality into their ranges in terms front of store,” Robinson told the Food & Drink Trends & Innovations conference in London yesterday (20 May).

Robinson also argued “key ingredients that are meaningful from a consumer’s perspective” could also secure listings. “If you’re able to bring those things really quickly, that’s brilliant,” she said.

The Spar UK boss also urged manufacturers to look at events – “there are so many opportunities throughout the year – an assertion supported by marketing agency Haygarth.

Anthony Donaldson, Haygarth’s planning director, said brand owners need to “better exploit” retail “occasions”.

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Donaldson pointed to the upcoming football World Cup in Brazil, which he said was “one of the most important trading events of the year”. A conservative estimate is the tournament will generate GBP600m of sales in the UK, Donaldson said.

“It’s no surprise the kinds of categories that do well out of this – beer, salty snacks, pizza but, if we think imaginatively, all sorts of categories can be activated around the World Cup,” he said.

However, Donaldson said the World Cup is “one of many trading events that punctuate the retail calendar” and called on brand owners to consider how they can “solve a need” around an event. “If we think creatively, there are opportunties for all our brands,” he said.

Nevertheless, beyond the short-term leverage brand owners could use from events, Spar’s Robinson urged suppliers to think carefully about how their brands would fit an existing category.

“We don’t have expandable shelves. Be quite clear about the product it is replacing – or indeed if it is an incremental purchase opportunity. If you solve those problems, you’ll get the listings,” she said.