Paul Hargreaves is the chief executive of Cotswold Fayre a specialist fine food wholesaler.

“Retail trends in 2017”

I thought this week I would share insights on what I expect some of the retail trends to be in 2017, which have inspired some of our product choices this year

Mary Portas in her programme over Christmas forecast that water melon juice is to be one of the star products this year and is one of the early favourites to be a best seller. Water melon juice has the advantage of all the rehydrating benefits of coconut water without the taste of coconuts! Now many people love coconut water, but as many also hate it, so What a Melon will appeal to more people due to its taste of fruit and will be very popular in 2017. In addition this company is also a B Corp, so appeals to the ethos of Cotswold Fayre.

Not drinking tea or coffee seems to be another trend for 2017. Gareth Gates, who many of a certain age may remember from Pop Idol, has launched Cuppanut – a coconut tea to offer an alternative to tea and coffee, and we are interested to see what impact a celebrity endorsement has on a range within the speciality food sector. In an article last year, Gareth said to the Daily Telegraph that “selling tea would make him more money than selling records”. We wait and see, but Gareth worked like a trojan and attended all of our six Launch Events all over the UK in January and with that commitment I am sure it will do well.

At our recent launch events we always made sure one of our new ranges was the first brand that customers saw when attending was Jiminis – a range of edible insects. Customer’s reaction to these was mixed, but many did try them – mealworms being the easiest to eat, and the grasshoppers the most challenging, but I didn’t know that you were meant to take the wings off! Whether insects are the way forward for feeding the world, I don’t know, but Cotswold Fayre is one of the pioneers of the food sector, so we have to give them a go! Some retailers were very excited by the potential of social media if they stocked edible insects.

Finally, there seems to be growing interest within the UK of Scandinavian products. Whether this is inspired by IKEA or not I do not know, but there has been much talk of ‘hygge’, and I think many of us aspire to the Scandinavian lifestyle, which is perceived as being healthier, more relaxed and less stressful than our own. Morsjo Deli, Sorgarden Mala are two new Swedish brands for us together with Simply Chocolate, which is Danish.

As always there will be products that surprise us – that’s the joy of this industry!

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