Pet lover

Thank you so much for this opportunity after a year looking after the pet food category #kantarworldpanel #thegrocer

petcare petfood


I want my dinner time back!

When I look at my diet today I’ve given up many things moving to UK. Mediterranean diet sounds as a delicatessen to me and 10£ for one course in a restaurant like a bargain. I’ve adapted to the UK supper times, having dinner at 7:30 pm and being starving at 10 pm. However I’m happy with all of that.

If there is something that I will not abandon is my dinner. Eating is not cheating and a pint and nachos is not a dinner.

Society is becoming more individual focused, pickier, families are fragmented, different diets, intolerance, allergies…. Only 1 in 5 people eat their evening meals as a family around a dining table. Meals for 1 person has become the most usual catering representing 44% when in 1980 were 33%.

Source: Kantar usage Pane l& EDR

Source: Kantar WP

When in 1964 everybody was eating the same thing, evening meal was a formal appointment in the house, home cooked and more important “sitting down”. Not in front of the computer eating a sandwich (the UK’s most popular meal).

Home cooked has become a “tonight I will treat myself”. People are spending less and less time in the kitchen taken to prepare and cook the main meal. From 60 minutes in 1980 to 23 minutes in 2013.

I remain in the 1964, call me vintage but a sandwich in Tesco on the way to the pub is not dinner.

Inglorious fruits and vegetables, I will buy you!

Food waste is a major issue in UK. We throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year, the majority of which could have been eaten. It’s costing £12.5bn a year and is bad for the environment too.

Loads of not-for-profit organisation are trying to raise awarness of the need to reduce food waste. “Love Food Hate Waste” is one of them (backed by Government funding from England, NI, Scotland and Wales).

The french supermarket “Intermarché” has found an amazing solution: “ugly fruits and vegetables” 30% cheaper. (currently 3 million views)

Supermarkets were always scared to buy “ugly fruits and vegetables”, for risk not being appealing to the shoppers. “Intermarché” sold out of them!


I cannot wait that at least one of the big four (Tesco, Asda, Morrisons or Sainsbury’s) will follow this mindset. 

The best training ever: how to prepare an English breakfast tea

I’ve improved a lot from my first day in the office. My poker face when one of my colleagues told me “please not too milky” was priceless.


So I ask my manager for the best training ever “how to prepare the perfect English breakfast tea”…  I had discovered days after that she’s a dark tea benchmark

I’m still very confused about “breakfast” because people drink at 5pm…

English breakfast tea is a black tea originating from Assam, Ceylon and Kenya. It is one of the most popular blended teas and the most common form of tea in British tea culture.

The most famous supermarket  brands are Twinings, Taylors of Harrogate and PG Tips.

Very interesting and easy concepts for my adaptation in England however I will carry on with my green tea!

But I’ve found better solutions for foreigners… bring your own “tea pantone” and make your team happy!

tea pantone

Meal deals: selling solutions no stuff

“Our homes may be full of cooking books but we’re nation spending less&Less time in the kitchen” this affirmation from Kantar Worldpanel make think me about my fancy colorful books from Jaime Oliver in kitchen…


32 minutes is the average of how long we spend cooking the main evening meal.

From “15 minutes” with Jamie Oliver TV program to the growth of “Tesco Finest” ready to cook/eat and “Taste-the-difference” (Sainsbury’s) we have evident changes on the shopping bag for the dinner.

So how the retailers are approaching these changes? They’re selling solutions, they’re becoming the Ikea of the food!

“10£ dinner for two” in Marks&Spencer is a good example as how a retailer can take advantage of a lack of time to cook to upsell products per trip. The meals deals are 1/3 of the revenue in the retailer.

Tesco Finest is another example of the approach to make the preparation of the dinner as fancy and ready as it’s possible.

The discounters and convenience stores are the only faces growing this year, one of the reasons is the change of the habits. I will focus on the convenience store, where we go to buy something fast for dinner.  They have a really good opportunity to grow in the mid-week evening meals. Must probably they can benefit for a switching from the main fast food chains. The clearly response from the retailers is new convenience store: as Morrison has opened 100 M local stores and Tesco 150 Tesco Express.

This open a huge spectrum of possibilities to cross categories in the meal deals to create more occasions to eat some products, for example yoghurt as a dessert if you add 1£ more… give me solution if I haven’t planned a dessert.



What’s gone wrong with Tesco?

I was pretty concerned by Tesco loss of market share. My first thought was: What’s gone wrong with Tesco?

But Tesco is not having a “bad” performance, they’re growing, but behind the market. The grocery market is growing 3.2% and Tesco 2.1%. Sainsbury’s and the discounters are bringing the growth to the market. So good enough is not enough in the competitive market of the grocery in UK.

reatilers grocery
Aldi and Lidl present a double digit growth thanks to the change in the shopper habits that starting to consider the discounters as a place for the weekly shopping. I would like to have this growth without the impact of the sales in the new supermarkets that they’ve opened last year.

The other winner is Sainsbury’s, which has achieved 0.4% market share more than the PY. Thanks to the Paralympics sponsorship, Brand Match and own-label investment.

Tesco have to react very fast, they might invest in the two fastest growing grocery channels: online and convenience. But for now they’re promoting a very similar concept to Carrefour Planet in the rest of Europe. The new Tesco in Watford is the jewel for Tesco’s UK operations. It would be great if they can apply some aspects around the full country as Chirs Bush has noted. They’re having a very good engagement with the customers, please check #watfood in Twitter.


Motivation is literally the desire to do things

Motivation is literally the desire to do things

Is my cow happy?

On my way trying to understanding how healthy trends are guiding shoppers decisions… I have to address dairy product. What are the benefits?


According to Stonyfield Farms, organic dairy cows eat 50% fresh pasture (grass), 40% alfalfa hay, and 10% non-GMO grain. Conventional cows’ diet is 40% alfalfa hay and 60% GMO soy and corn. So in effect, they are eating a pesticide diet: 42 billion pounds of pesticides per year are used to produce dairy food!

All bran proclaimed the happiness of the regularity, also the cows are happy because of a healthy diet rich in roughage.

So how is the dairy market reacting to the organic products? In terms of revenue not too well, below you can find a table with the TOP 10 dairy companies and the trend is steady.


There are some companies that have understood the value of organic produce, above all in the baby food sector. For instance Danone has snapped up 90% of organic US firm Happy Family.

Otherwise Nestlé’s chairman and former CEO Peter Brabeck-Letmathe declared anti-organic arguments, from “organic can’t feed the world” to “organic isn’t any better for you.”

In the meantime Nestlé declared last quarter being sales disappointment again … and Organic Valley has reported a 10.5% increase in 2013.

Superfoods and “superseeds” raise in the food market

I’m quite curious about the Superfood concept. If people are paying £20 for a bag with powder seeds I would like to know “why”. I’ve loved the Wikipedia definition of “Superfood is a marketing term used to describe foods with supposed health benefits”

As one day BIO denomination was controlled by EU legislation, now it’s the turn of the Superfood term. The new legislation has banned the use term superfood unless it is accompanied by a specific authorised health claim that explains to consumers why the product is good for their health.

Some say superfoods can protect against cancer and heart disease, but others say there is no evidence for this.

Anyway if we check ACNielsen data we can understand that it’s a very prosperous business. Blueberries, Spinach, Salmon, Green tea or Soy are some of the “superfood” products that they have doubled the sales in the past year.

But I’m really interested on the benefits of the seeds. Companies such as Linwood are growing thanks to the superfood products.


There is only one way to derive nutrition from seeds and that is to eat them raw because when they are exposed to heat, they produce toxic substances. Following you can find a TOP 10 seeds:


2) HEMP SEEDS: aminoacids and high protein percentage

3) POMEGRANATE SEEDS: antioxidants

4) FLAX SEEDS: suppresse rises in blood levels of lipids after a meal and modulate appetite and reduces cholesterol.

5) PUMPKIN SEEDS: rich in proteins

6) APRICOT SEEDS: contain vitamin B17 that attacks cancer cells

7) SESAME SEEDS:  source of manganese and copper

8) SUNFLOWER SEEDS: contain Vitamin E

9) CUMIN SEEDS: are useful for digestive disorders and even as an antiseptic

10) GRAPE SEEDS: have a great concentration of vitamin E, flavonoids, linoleic acid and  polyphenols

But I will focus in the most trendy and expensive: CHIA SEED

The best of the best, consumption of chia seeds could help reduce joint pain, aid in weight loss, deliver an energy boost and protect against serious ailments such as diabetes and heart disease.

Facts about Chia seeds: 
– 2.5 times more protein than kidney beans
– 3 times the antioxidant strength of blueberries
– 3 times more iron than spinach
– 6 times more calcium than milk
– 7 times more vitamin C than oranges
– 8 times more omega-3 than salmon
– 10 times more fibre than rice
– 15 times more magnesium than broccoli


For sure with these facts in front of me I cannot say I’m not going to try it… Unfortunately it will be difficult to check the miracle results.

However Mr Chia seed… you win! I will include you in my diet

The fights between online grocery stores and convenience stores

Let me start with a few facts and numbers that Kantar Worldpanel supplied to MarketingWeek.

  • 75% of the money spent by households goes on food to be eaten on the same day or by people doing top up shopping
  • 37% goes to top-up shops

The market interpreted these changes and for this reason the big retailers are focusing on the “convenience” store to satisfy the daily needs of the customers. For example Waitrose opened 10 “Little Waitrose” in London in 2013.


But if someone really made a difference it is Amazon in US. The new platform AmazonFresh allows people to get groceries sent to them for free on the same day as they ordered ($35 minimum amount).

Until now the promotions seemed to be the only hook to buy online. The number of promotions is one reason why people are stimulated to spend more on their grocery shopping online: 42% online against 38% in-store. Instead Amazon has shown that “placement” can be more important that “price” in the online market.

However I still love to see the food that I’m buying and finding inspiration walking around the aisles for my menus and feeling grateful to find a big offer with a red label.

To close, I would like to quote Phil Dorsett, Kantar Worldpanel expert solutions director, “going to buy groceries is one thing keeping internet grocery relatively small: people like seeing THE FOOD. Convenience will be a source of growth for retailers for a good while”.