New research from Mintel has revealed that volume sales of small cakes has overtaken that of large cakes, with sales rising from 116 million kilograms in 2011 to 130 million kilograms in 2012, representing an overall increase in sales of 19%.*

As the number of retailers producing own brand products grows pressure is mounting on manufacturers and suppliers to continue demonstrating how their products will drive sales, increasing the retailer’s overall market share.

With the small cake category now accounting for 44% of the overall UK cake market, an increase which has been attributed to new product development (NPD), we are reminded of value of NPD and the role that product innovation from manufacturers and suppliers plays in category growth.

Research and investment into shopper insight enables suppliers to understand the demands of the shopper. Is the shopper looking for convenience? Would smaller portion sizes encourage sales from single person households? Are shoppers purchasing decisions based on price or quality? Does the position of a product within the layout of a supermarket encourage sales?

With shoppers spending little time browsing whole categories it is vital that suppliers commit to developing products which will interrupt the shopper journey, catching the attention of the shopper, and leading to sales. Suppliers which provide useful customer insights and NPD that leads to products meeting the needs of the shopper, increasing category sales and market share make themselves invaluable to retailers.

As the number of shoppers regularly visiting the same store week on week decreases, retailers must work harder to safeguard sales and customer loyalty. It is critical for manufacturers and suppliers to demonstrate is that they not only collect shopper and sales data, but that they can use this information to drive category growth.

The difference between collecting data and being able to use it effectively is what separates suppliers that thrive in the competitive FMCG market and suppliers that become less relevant.  A supplier which can drive category becomes a partner rather than merely a supplier.