Sunday, August 28, 2011

Trade Secrets

With a flying visit from our son today, have 'things to do', so today's blog will be shorter than usual. Even Gill's hour-long Sunday phone call to me will have to be curtailed (she won't like that!). Two comments to reply to - followed by 'trade chat', and hopefully have time for a few recipes.

Not sure what type of cabbage you wish to use Urbanfarmgirl, but am assuming as this is coming up to autumn, it will be either the 'firm head', the 'drumhead' conical or ball cabbages with pale or green leaves, or the large white or pale green 'winter cabbages'. The latter, if left intact with only the outer leaves removed will - if stored cling-wrapped or in a plastic bag (with a few holes) - for several weeks, longer if in the fridge.
Firm cabbage leaves can be chopped and frozen in lidded containers or bags and will be fine for use in soups, stews or casseroles.
The recipes given (today or tomorrow) will be cabbage based.

Glad you found that Lakeland sell the lemon marmade 'concentrate' (similar to MaMade) Wen. Gill brought me four cans when she recently came to visit, but have yet to use one. Loved the idea of adding Limoncello as have half a bottle lurking in the larder (use spirits, liqueurs only for cooking - this way they then last years!).

Now for trade news. There was a 'Christmas' supplement with it this week highlighting the best products to tempt us. Seems the new kid on the block is selling slightly larger packs of crisps, biscuits, sweets etc at - of course - a more than slightly larger price than the standard pack, as meant for 'sharing'. The mag says "Christmas remains the biggest seasonal opportunity of the year for confectionary.....and sharing also increases as consumers pick up boxed chocolates at the last minute to share with friends and family at festive get-togethers." A page or two later it says "An important trend we expect to perform well again this year is the continued rel vance of the Sharing category, 70% of chocolate is eaten with others at Christmas time.....making this a lucrative sales opportunity."
"There are four key reasons that shoppers make seasonal confectionary purchases, these include: Seasonal Thank you (gift boxes), Big Family Sharing (large tubs), Stocking Fillers (tube formats), and a Little Piece of Christmas (seasonal self-eat treats).
With this in mind feel that we could save ourselves considerable pennies if we make a lot of our own 'sweet treats', so recipes will be given closer to Christmas.

It doesn't have to be sweet things. "Goose and Duck Fats "are always in high demand during the festive season...and with impulse buying is high at this time of year, retailers can maximise the benefits of this by tactically dual merchandising near related fresh products, such as potatoes". Tempted we may be, but be strong, that's all I can say.

Now to general trade news. "Shoppers continue to desert the organic aisles in their droves - even though there are more products on supermarket shelves for them to choose from". No mention of a reason other than "the mults do not cater for customer demand". Myself feel the reason we don't buy is because the prices charged for all 'organics' is too high for us to cope with in this time of recession and - as another article says "consumers are increasingly looking for value products and organic is seen in some categories as an unnecessary expense".
There are one or two mentions of new organic products on the market, one for organic honey caught my eye. Considering honey comes from nectar gathered by bees, how is it possible for the bees to choose between organically grown flowers and the rest?

"The price of onions is reaching eye-watering levels, following an exceptionally poor growing season in New Zealand......and of 41 onion products on sale in the big four supermarkets this week, 24 have gone up in price over the past 12 months, and 14 are now at least 20% more expensive than they were a year ago. Only five are now cheaper.
Red onions have been hit particularly hard by price inflation - of the 17 red onions products in our basket, 12 have gone up in price over the past year. A pack of 3 red onions being 50% more expensive across Tesco, Asda, and Sainsbury's now than it was this time last year, at £1.27 compared with 85p.
Only Morrisons has held steady on the price of the red 0nion three-pack and is still selling for 69p. However, its loose red onions have risen 23%". (Much the same in other stores).

"The situation is no better for brown onions....and across the multiples the price of 1 kg of loose brown onions has risen an average of 13.2%."
Thankfully, the article goes on to say that "prices were likely to come down again once the British main crop is in 'full swing', although with onions it is too early to tell until the crop is safely in store as adverse weather at harvest can dramatically affect saleable yield".

As one who uses onions in almost every savoury dish made (the more onions the better) have now something else to keep an eye on re prices.

Morrison's have taken over from Asda as having the cheapest basket this week, their basket costing £54.35p compared to Asda's £54.47p, Waitrose being the highest priced at £62.92 for the same items. But - as ever - don't let the totals fool you. The reason why Morrisons won this week is because of their promotion of Haagen-Dazs ice-cream they they were selling for £2.07p, whereas the remaining four stores all sold it at the full price of £4.15p! Which shows that by reducing just one item when the rest don't makes a whole mockery of who has the cheapest basket.
Again this week the basket seems to hold far too many foods that would never see the light of day in a thrifty shoppers' basket(in other words mine), such as Bird's Eye Potato Waffles, Bonne Maman conserve, Brussels Pate, Budweiser, Dill, Eclairs, Edam slices, Haagen Dazs ice-cream, Herbal Hair conditioner, Home-price cook-in sauce, John West Light Lunch, Lindt Excellence, Scotch Pancakes. There are times I feel some that I'm on a different planet when it comes to 'shopping for food'.

A mention was given to a programme to be shown on the Discovery Channel, Real Time, Monday, this is called Extreme Couponing, and is back to shadow the savings slaves who live and die by the money-off vouchers . Believe it is US orientated as we Brits are more bashful about cashing in on the 'freeconomy', but if you can receive this Channel, then perhaps worth a look.

Heinz beans are changing their label and instead of 'Beanz' the label will now read Heinz, with the words "1 0f your 5 a day" above a picture of a few baked beans .

A slightly complicated article which I've only had time to speed-read, but it does seem that Tesco (and probably other stores) will now be selling milk at £1 for four pints, but only certain brands.

Sales of branded Cheddar have taken a serious hit as cash-strapped shoppers increasingly look to own-label products to manage price inflation. However, there are still quality brands available on offer at comparable prices, so worth buying (and possibly freezing) when you see them.

The price of minced beef is soaring as "supermarkets have hiked up the price of value-tier beef mince by up to 25% since the same time last year". Reading that "farmers have changed their cattle rearing cycles to maximise profits and mitigate the higher cost of feed.....and this year, more cattle are being kept back to feed up in expectation of rising beef prices", doesn't bode well for the price of beef in the future. So perhaps sensible if we buy now - while the price is right - and freeze as much as we can.

Unfortunately time has caught up with me, so will have to hold over the remainder of trade news (not a lot left) and also cabbage recipes which I hoped I'd have time to post up today. Apologies for this, but tomorrow they will be printed.

We had a thunderstorm last night, and almost hail falling a few moments ago, so not sure what the weekend weather will turn out to be - doesn't look promising here in Morecambe. Hope you all fare better, but still find time to join me again tomorrow. See you then.
p.s. the flipping 'spell check' has failed, so more apolgies for any missed errors.