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Innovation from the UK

The British food and drink industry has a long and celebrated history in the field of innovation. This was helped by the ground-breaking trends of leading food retailers such as Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco who recognised earlier than most of their competitors in Continental Europe that the way forward to develop successfully and profitably was to create a valuable brand around the company name, develop private label (building the brand and not just to concentrating on price) and focus on innovation to differentiate from competition.

There are many examples of product categories / brands from the UK where this home-based innovation was proved to be transferable to a strong, price-led market such as Germany. It starts with the whisk(e)y category where malt whisky has developed strongly over the last 20 years. And more recently, Kettle Chips have shown there is strong growth potential for a more discerning target-market in the premium potato chip market. Similarly, in the biscuit segment, Walkers has established itself firmly through a consequent skimming strategy, just concentrating on top quality distribution channels.

Since last year, the UK No. 4 chocolate manufacturer Kinnerton has selected also just a targeted number of outlets for its Magnum chocolate range using the license from the Unilever ice cream brand. British suppliers / retailers are renowned for their skill and expertise in chilled food and in general for short shelf-life products with extremely high taste expectations. A good example of this is GÜ chilled desserts which over the last 5 years have been well received by the German trade and consumers.

A visit to IFE near London City Airport on March 19 – 22, 2017 is a good way for food / drink buyers to see what future trends are and to link this with store visits to see in which direction the market is going.