Nisa-Today's, Booker, Landmark, Sales Out, IGD, Tesco Express and now the Co-op are saying that walking to the local shop is the new consumer growth trend. This is put down to families cutting petrol costs and avoiding food waste by buying just in time, with nervous mums fearful of job losses in the family.

But recesssions come and go. The implication is that when the green shoots finally bloom and good times return, everyone will resume the big shop at the superstore, returning to ingrained habits such as over-buying, throwing a scandalous £11bn of food away a year (60% of which is untouched, according to government data) and the rest.

Independents ask me if there is any strategic thinking among wholesalers to prevent the unwelcome bounce back to the supermarkets.

Wholesalers are looking at how increased volumes produced by the recession can be sustained long-term. Not all the new frequent local shoppers are cash-crunched and the current mood favouring own label could see top brands re-emerging stronger than ever.

Grocery even now needs more wow factor - sales are lost if there's no green tea or new canned lines. Beer shelves must have more premium bottled ales to produce balance in the offering.

There is evidence that even as the meltdown plunges ever deeper, consumers are seeking an opportunity to trade up. When price-obsessed Wetherspoons announced good trading to April, it cited sales of higher price Belgian and Finnish beers as a major reason. Do you need a more persuasive example?

A Birmingham follower of this column buys a small range of Best In lines with margins generous enough to enable her to display them grouped together at 10% off. They fly out of the shop. There's no need to drop that habit - ever.

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