Two lovely ladies from The Sun were in attendance at IFFE 2011 to support the newspaper’s Keep It Down fuel duty campaign. They certainly attracted a lot of attention. RMI Petrol chairman Brian Madderson said: "The Page 3 girls from The Sun were a mega attraction for us. Several hundred extra signatures were obtained from exhibitors and visitors alike and these were sent on to the newspaper."

Meanwhile, the Car Wash Association (CWA) used IFFE to launch the WashMark, its new Kitemark standard.

The WashMark is being offered to forecourts with wash facilities and car wash centres that comply with all current environmental and legal obligations and show best practice.

Michael Harris, the CWA’s deputy chairman, said: "We are all aware that one of the biggest challenges in the UK car wash industry is consumer perception. The WashMark is the CWA’s first step to educating the consumer into understanding the damage unregulated hand car washing can pose to both their car and the environment, and make it easy to identify a site where it is safe to wash their car."

The WashMark is being used to signify competence, environmental responsibility, and accountability. It is predicted that, given the current interest in the WashMark, by the end of the year almost two-thirds of the car wash industry will be showing the WashMark.

If you would like to know more about the WashMark and how to apply for it, please email info@carwashassociation or call 0844 809 4288.

Eurotank Environmental ran fuels handling and storage seminars throughout the show. However its big news was the launch of a new strategic partnership to help beat the forecourt diesel bug. The company is now the UK distributor of Conidia Bioscience’s new Fuelstat 10-minute test for diesel bugs. It’s described as a ’pregnancy-style’ test which has been used by hundreds of the world’s airlines. All you need is 10 minutes, a flat surface, a pair of latex gloves and a 200ml sample to discover the bugs living in your fuel. Its key advantages include there being no need for laboratory or special skills to get accurate results that indicate what remedial action is required. There are no health and safety issues and no need to invest in new equipment.

Eurotank also explained its three step fuel hygiene regime which comprises: regular draining of water from the system, including the hazy fuel layer; regular testing to determine the levels and nature of any microbial contamination at intervals appropriate to local risk level (once or twice a year is usually sufficient); and remedial action, which means treatment appropriate to the results of the test which can range from doing nothing through to a whole fuel system clean out.

On show at IFFE 2011

l HTEC showed off its new GemFUEL payment terminal and also talked to retailers about GemPay Plus which is due to be launched later in the year. This will replace the company’s Gemini product which is currently used at over 5,000 point-of-sale stations in the UK. GemPay Plus will put EFT, loyalty and fuel card acceptance all on one convenient platform. As well as being able to accept major credit and debit cards, the terminal is able to handle industry fuel cards as well as new Chip & PIN fuel cards.

l Dresser Wayne announced that its iXPay secure payment solution was the world’s first to receive Payment Card Industry PIN Transaction security version 3.0 certification for encrypting PIN pad keyboard devices. The iXPay helps protect consumers and retailers from increasingly sophisticated data fraud methods.

l Wilcomatic told visitors about its latest generation Christ rollover machines which have a warming system to protect the chemicals from freezing if the temperature drops below zero.

l Real Time Inventory Management was offering visitors a no obligation quote for stocktaking. The company’s regionally-based teams deliver real-time results in formats to suit the client.

l Dognostic’s K9000 dog wash attracted a lot of attention. The coin-operated machine is already in use in the US and Australia. The company says that in urban areas at least 40 dogs a week would be expected to pass through the wash at a cost of at least £8 per dog.

National Convenience Show

The new National Convenience Show ran alongside IFFE. There were plenty of new products to check out including:

l Unilever and Milk Link unveiled I Can’t Believe It’s Not Cheddar. This has 30% less fat than typical Cheddar so can’t actually be called Cheddar. Available now in grocery multiples, it will shortly be launched into independents.

l Aimia Foods launched its No Fear Extreme Energy drink in a 250ml slimline can. Aimia reckons it makes an ideal mixer or on-the-go energy drink.

l LetterBox Gifts won the National Convenience Show’s Best New Idea award, which was voted for by visitors. The product is a greeting card and confectionery gift in one, containing either Thorntons chocolates or jelly beans. And it can be given personally as a gift or sent through the post. Different designs are available including Happy Birthday and Thank You. It comes in shelf-ready boxes of 10. Recommended retail price is £4.99.

l Philip Morris International used the show to launch two new cigarettes: Chesterfield and Marlboro Gold Touch.

l Pork Farms was celebrating its 80th anniversary with new packaging and four new pastry slices: chicken & mushroom, chicken & bacon, peppered steak and cheese & onion.

indie 5000 presentations

IFFE 2011 saw the launch of Indie 5000, an exciting new project targeting dealers with a handful of sites or less. There were special presentations for these retailers throughout the show.

Optimising property value and business exit strategies presented by Amanda Barber and Adam Wadlow, partners at Barber Wadlow

Barber asked the question whether forecourt retailers should redevelop their sites or not? However that question led to many others such as whether you go for a knock down rebuild or an upgrade and extension. As for exit strategies and whether to sell now, Wadlow said: "The Barber Wadlow/Catalist Experian petrol filling station Property Value Indices reported 1-3% decline in values in 2010. However you have to remember that those values are still more than double what they were in 2000."

The pair talked about the Barber Wadlow petrol filling station value maximiser toolbox. This included the initial advice of considering development options and appraisals through to development.

How to improve fuel margins by Andreas Jonason, director, Simon-Kucher & Partners

Andreas Jonason’s presentation was all about price perception. He asked: "How many of your customers know what they paid for petrol?" He advised retailers to use promotions and eye-catching price marketing to establish a positive price perception. However, Jonason added that petrol retailers need to tailor the initiatives to their particular situation.

Taking small steps to maximise shop income and profit by Keith Jewers of Gulf and Paul Muncey of In-Store Profits

Gulf introduced its Store Consultancy programme in 2006 to provide retailers with advice and hands-on support. Working with In-Store Profits, it aims to help retailers increase their shop volume and their margin.

Its service includes merchandising planograms, category management, offers and promotions.

The car wash business by Marc Ford, senior business development manager, Wilcomatic

Ford spoke about the importance of effective marketing, using independent retailer Kumar Sharma, who runs a BP site in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, as a shining example.

Making car wash pay in a difficult climate by Michael Harris, managing dirlector at WashTec UK

Harris shared the ’three habits of highly-effective car washes: make the car wash visible; target your customers with offers and exceed their expectations; make sure you deliver a first-class wash.

Forecourts of the future by Claire Livesey, managing director of brand agency Circle

Livesey explained that successful forecourts of the future would have a brand that "customers feel warm about, with a distinct design style that makes shopping there a positive experience". She added that they needed "fresh evolving fast food to entice people at all times of day" as well as "surprising service and a warm welcome" to build loyalty.