The UK grocery market – An Agenda for Growth

The UK grocery market – An Agenda for Growth

Ben Miller, Insight Services and Events Director at IGD explains how retailers can insight growth in a challenging market.

The feedback I hear repeatedly when talking to UK manufacturers and retailers is just how tough trading is, and how it has been for some time. Every day you are battered by the twin headwinds of declining consumer confidence and low economic growth, whilst trying to keep pace with rapidly evolving shopper behaviour.

Yet around the globe, grocery and CPG companies are grasping opportunities for growth, following their shoppers to build relevant and sustainable new business models and unlocking digital innovation.

We’ve now reached the time in the UK for us to pivot our debate, to look to a new future, to celebrate and learn from those businesses who are expanding in the UK, and to set an Agenda for Growth:

  • Excite your shoppers, provide experiences and create engagement. With 8 percent of the UK grocery market set to be online by 2024, physical retailing is far from dead. Mediocre retailing, though, is.
  • Adopt digital thinking. Shoppers are used to the unlimited choice, personalisation and convenience of online shopping. Progressive retailers and manufactures are working with innovative start-ups to meet these shopper demands in mass grocery stores. It has the potential to redefine the stores of the future.
  • Embrace partnerships, alliances and ecosystems. The world is too complex and moving too fast for any one company keep up with alone. Our market is now an interconnected web, no longer a simple linear supply chain
  •  Build inclusive cultures, attracting and retaining diverse talent. Innovation will need to be the life-blood of any business. It comes from a diversity of thinking, and what better route to enable this than ensuring we have diversity in our thinkers
  • Measure success on more than profitability. The imperative for businesses to have purpose is stronger than ever. Shoppers increasingly expect you to manage your environmental impact and contribute positively to society, and they will be increasingly unforgiving. What does your business or brand stand for?

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On 6th and 7th November I’m looking forward to welcoming 1,000 manufacturers, retailers, tech start-ups, service providers, influencers and media partners to Tobacco Dock in London, to advance our Agenda for Growth at IGD Live – the UK’s biggest food and consumer goods event.

With over 120 speakers across seven different insight streams and 43 different insight sessions, choosing what I’m looking forward to the most isn’t easy.

Here, though, are my Chairman’s picks;

  • Julie Bowerman, Kellogg’s – Julie is Chief Global Digital Customer officer for Kellogg’s, championing the digital evolution in a global CPG leader. She will be part of the opening keynote session, sharing her first-hand experiences and learnings of how Kellogg’s is evolving its culture to remain relevant among digitally native brands (you’ll also hear from some of these, too. Don’t miss Deliciously Ella).
  • Leendert den Hollander and Catherine Gillespie, Coca-Cola European Partners – CCEP identified the importance of creating an inclusive culture, to attract and maintain a diverse workforce. This keynote will explore how they have done this, and what they have learned.
  • How AI is being used commercially – Could AI fundamentally redefine the buyer and seller interface? We’re going to explore this in the Category Management stream with the founders of two tech companies already using machine learning to disrupt; SpoonGuru from London, and Eversight from California. I’m really looking forward to chairing this debate.
  • Adam Grant, Danone and Jo Whitfield, Co-operative – Our keynote session on the second morning addresses unlocking sustainable growth. With Danone and the Co-operative, we’ll hear from a manufacturer and retailer who have both taken leadership stances on sustainability issues, and what we can learn from this.
  • Digital meets retail in Convenience – We’ve a great session on Day 2 in the Convenience stream with the CFO of Zabka Polska and CEO of AiFi, who will talk about how a traditional Polish retailer has undergone a digital revolution, including developing staff-less and cashless stores, and what the implications for suppliers are.
  • 24 different retailers and operators, from Alibaba to Zabka – Our vision for IGD Live is to create the UK’s leading meeting for commercial practitioners in our industry. And we know hearing from retail partners is essential for this. Across IGD Live we have twenty four different grocery retailers, wholesalers and food-to-go operators. Don’t miss Tesco’s UK&I CEO Jason Tarry share his views of how to unlock growth in the UK market, or Sainsbury’s Food Commercial Director Paul Mills-Hicks who joins us on Sainsbury’s interim results day to share their latest news hot off the press.

Regardless of whatever happens in the halls of Brussels or Westminster over the next few months, our shoppers have already changed, and it’s time for our conversation to move forward and for our industry to be progressive leaders and grasp the opportunities being created. We need to adopt a new Agenda for Change.

Join us at IGD Live to learn, connect and grow, and develop this agenda together. Tickets remain, book now at

Ben Miller will also be speaking at the Neighbourhood Retailer Summit taking place in Belfast on 14th November 2019. Register at: