Blog: The flair just ain’t there

Catherine Sleep | 20 October 2005

Grocery retailers are giving consumers a dull old time, Asda president Andy Bond told an industry gathering in London on Tuesday. Instead of excitement, all they offer shoppers is “bland amorphous sameness”.

Bond comes from a fashion background, where new trends spill over from the catwalk onto the high street in a matter of a few weeks and new product development must keep up accordingly. Six weeks? Six months is more common in a food industry bogged down by inertia and bureaucracy, lamented Bond.

What’s more, failing to establish a genuine point of difference between the major retailers is translating into sluggish sales for everyone and a stultified playing field. For if all else is more or less equal, the biggest grocer will continue to win. Sound familiar?

Clearly a man not afraid to give his peers a good talking-to, Bond’s call to action comes at a good time. According to research highlighted at the same event, Britons are more willing than ever to pay for good food and then spend time preparing it. For a perhaps surprising number of people, it’s not all about price. Premium shoppers abound – but are their needs really being met?

UK food industry told to show more flair - MEMBERS


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