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Shop Talk with Tracy West

Happy new year to you all let's hope it's a good one for you and your business. And, if you look at new research from Barclaycard, it seems things are already looking up as 2014 was the year when we all started spending again.

The biggest increases in spending were in restaurants and on entertainment up 14.6% and 11% respectively.

Spending on food and drink was also up but at just 2.1% while expenditure on petrol was down 5.5% whether that goes up as the prices keep on coming down is anyone's guess. Barclaycard's survey found that consumers are cutting back in some areas and spending more in others so perhaps with it costing around a tenner less to fill a family car people will spend that saved tenner in your shop?

So what might people be splashing out on? The Mail Online the world's most popular English language newspaper website reckons it's going to be cauliflower rice, anchovy ice cream and cricket crisps.

Apparently root vegetables such as parsnips will be more widely used while the humble Brussels sprout will be labelled a 'superfood'. Another so-called superfood will be insects because they are a sustainable source of high protein.

You should also look out for savoury yogurts and ice creams although I'll be trying to avoid them. In Japan Haagen-Dazs already offers tomato cherry and carrot orange ice creams. It all sounds rather fanciful and I can't see it hitting the local forecourt store for some time.

When it comes to more mainstream fare let's hope the boost to the economy will result in investment in NPD from manufacturers.

Brand extensions and cross-overs into new categories (Creme Egg biscuits anyone?) are great but nothing beats a brand new product.

I for one thought the launch of tiny bottles of concentrated squash to flavour bland old water such as Robinsons Squash'd was inspired but I'm not sure they've caught on. I haven't seen them around much and where I have seen them, they've been reduced in price. I think the idea was great but perhaps it wasn't communicated that well?

I know it costs to develop new products but if people have more money to spend they'll need a good reason to do so.