By Fiona Emberton Lifestyle in many countries John and I work in is changing rapidly ï¿½ one part of the lifestyle being very close to our hearts ï¿½ and our stomachs! In countries with an Anglo-Celtic background, plain fare was very much the norm ï¿½ and very good it was too. But a little dull. If you have watched the movie Shirley Valentine ï¿½ you will have seen the monotonous regularity that ï¿½egg and chips on a Thursdayï¿½ came around. But my, have things changed in the last decade! Whatï¿½s more stunning is why. According to the Guardian newspaper, 80% of consumers in the UK report that their culinary habits have changed and 60% put it down to the influence of celebrity chefs such as the cheeky chappie Jamie Oliver, and Queen of the southern counties, Delia Smith. What an influence. We as businesses, have to watch these key influencers – these tipsters. No matter how much we love our other products, those produced by or promoted by these people have to on our shelves ï¿½ or we will disappoint the customer and be perceived as out of date. Other statistics for you: 31% say they use a wider variety of ingredients than they used to ( a challenge for our smaller shops) 24% say they buy better ingredients than they used to. 38% of people aspire to be a better cook ( well Iï¿½d love to be like Nigella!) 27% are more confident cooks than they were 1.3 million extra eggs were sold in the UK over the period Deliaï¿½s series ï¿½ How to Cookï¿½ was aired. 5000 packets of 21-day mature beef sprang off the shelves the week after jamie endorsed it ( lucky Sainsburyï¿½s) So whatï¿½s this got to do with you? Where you may not have stocked Larousse Gastrononomique ï¿½ the classic French cookbook, thinking it was too exclusive ï¿½ think about it. Where stock freshness was not so much of an issue before ï¿½ it is now. Environmental scanning is critical to your business ï¿½ keeping the finger on the pulse to find out what is driving demand locally for you. Is it Oprah? Friends? Or your local personality? Lakelands Plastics, a UK cookery equipment company was on the verge of failure, until a simple utensil of theirs was mentioned by Delia. Then they boomed. Read the papers, keep in touch with TV and watch your business grow as a result!