Friday, June 15, 2007

Supermarket Chuckle

Side note: 15/06/07

Oh, what a wheeze! With copious amounts of rain falling on our green and pleasant, erm, green, I took to following a little paper trail. I fancied a visit to the Internet homestead of the British Retail Consortium, which as far as I can tell is the mouthpiece of Tescos. I only say this for whenever I hear their representative, Dr. Kevin Hawkins (Safeways), speak on TV or the wireless, they are always defending Tescos.

They are also the brains behind the almost completely indecipherable nutritional info that they have used rather than the delightful little traffic light system that the noble Food Standards Agency recommended after a thorough 2 year study. (But then the food standards agency doesn't have Tesco as its leading member.)

Anyway, while on the website I noted a section about myths in the retail industry. One of these is, apparently, that small, local and totally independent shops are being driven out of business by the big chains and the out of towners. The BRC completely rebuff the All-Party report from 2006, calling it badly argued. They said that their figures didn't add up as if the independent sector reduced as the report claimed that there would be no one left by 2015. However. the BRC forget to tell you that as old shops close, new ones do open - even if they are hounded out by artificially high rents caused by the chains being prepared to offer more money.

Instead, the BRC suggest that one reads the more credible and balanced report by the totally independent, international think tank and registered charity, the IGD. (Who?) Well, I went to find out who this acclaimed and noble body was.

The answer was in the list of trustees for the organisation:

Name Title Company
Mr I Bacon Chief Executive, Sugars, Europe Tate & Lyle Sugars Europe
Mr D Blackhurst Trading Director Food ASDA Stores Ltd
Mr M Coupe Trading Director Sainsbury's Ltd
Mr A Garden General Manager - Western Europe Procter & Gamble AG
Mr C Hutchison Vice President, Europe Wilkinson Sword Ltd
Mr P Kelly Group Corporate Affairs Director Compass Group plc
Mr D Kittmer UK Finance Director, Petcare Masterfoods (Division of Mars UK Ltd)
Mr S Newiss FIGD Vice President, Global Customers, KIC Kraft Food
Garry Price Chief Financial Officer, UK & Ireland H J Heinz Co Ltd
Mr V Robinson Director of Sales Nestlé UK Ltd
Mr T Smith Sales Director Unilever Bestfoods UK
Mr D Turner Chief Executive Officer One Stop Stores Ltd (Tesco)

Obviously, a robust and totally independent body



PS: The tactic during interviews that the BRC have taken against the traffic light system is to make people think that there would be one traffic light (red, green or amber) for the whole of the packaging. In reality, each of the main areas of fat, salt, sugar, etc are traffic lighted. So you might have a red for salt, green for sugar, amber for fat. Clever huh? Read THIS article to get a clear picture.