The rapid pace of change we experience in modern life means that we can miss or downplay milestones of real and historic significance. SGF has reached such a milestone – we are celebrating our 100th anniversary! The Scottish Grocers and Provisions Merchants Federation was formed in the closing months of the First World War. Since then we been at the forefront of promoting the interests of convenience stores and community-based retailing.

In that time SGF and the industry have changed immeasurably. Membership has grown to include all the major convenience groups and Co-ops operating in Scotland, and a key function is to help retailers deal with the constant barrage of regulation and legislation coming from government.

Speaking at our centenary celebrations, cabinet secretary for the food and drink industry Fergus Ewing said: “When the Scottish Grocers Federation was formed in 1918, Scotland’s retail landscape was very different. It is testament to the Federation’s enduring relevance, as well as its adaptability that, 100 years on, the SGF remains the authoritative voice for the convenience store sector, and can be justifiably lauded as a Scottish ‘institution’.”

This type of recognition shows how far we have come. Going forward our task is to enable our members to stay competitive, be innovative and respond effectively to changing customer and expectations. Key issues will be how retailers make the most of technology, how far they go with food to go and how effectively they can drive costs out of the business. And, as we have for the past 100 years, we will be there to support them.