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The supermarkets are so big that everyone has a view on whether they are a good thing or a bad thing and shoppers’ tend to make judgements through the prism of the world that the big shops have shaped.
Tyrrells crisps founder William Chase has a vodka brand to sell and is on a media charm offensive, which may explain his talking up Tesco to Business XL magazine.
Supermarkets did a lot for the food industry in the 1980s by cleaning up hygiene standards and offering families food that was consistently safe to eat, he says.
“If we didn’t have bar-coded, pre-packaged food, shopping as we know it physically wouldn’t happen. People will say ‘poor farmers’ but the most important thing is that they want their food to be on the supermarket shelves and they want to know it’s not going to hurt their children,” Mr Chase told the business magazine.
His view is shared by many shoppers. The supermarkets are very good at promoting healthy eating and providing interesting recipe suggestions. Their expansion into the convenience market has driven up the standards required of local shops to stay in business.
Twenty-plus years of successful innovation creates its own momentum and Mr Chase is merely helping to keep the flywheel spinning. Implicit in his remarks is a criticism of corner shops and their wholesale suppliers, which is why it is important for independents to match the standard set by the supermarkets and to tell their story better.
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