APRIL DIGITAL EDITION – Profit, people, planet

There was a time when it was generally accepted that companies existed solely to make money. But now, in this more caring, sharing, enlightened era, the ‘p’ for profit can be joined by ‘people’ and ‘planet’ in terms of a company’s ethos. That’s certainly the view of Paul Hargreaves, founder of speciality and fine food wholesaler Cotswold Fayre.

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As a B Corp, Cotswold Fayre exists not only for its shareholders but for the benefit of employees, suppliers, the planet and the world community. This is not mere talk – Cotswold Fayre is the UK’s first fine food wholesaler to be completely carbon neutral.

In this month’s Who’s Who in Wholesaling interview, Hargreaves discusses the development of the soft drinks category and how the company is minimising its impact on the environment.

”One element holds true across all sub- categories, and that is the reduction of single use plastic,” he says. “Last year, we took the decision not to list any new products in plastic to help minimise the impact on the environment and are seeking further environmentally kind measures.”

The issue of sustainability is now seen as fundamental to the future of the grocery industry.

Taking this view, Britvic last year appointed Trystan Farnworth, previously the company’s GB Commercial Director, to the newly created role of Director of Sustainability. Farnworth speaks to Wholesale Manager about how the company is driving the sustainability agenda.

With consumers purchasing on the go to fuel their busy lifestyles, snacks are a necessity to keep their energy up throughout the day. Wholesalers and retailers therefore need to cater for the dynamic Food to Go market.

Wholesalers should also be stocking up on hot beverages, which remain a staple of British life. Besides being great for hydration and a good fit with healthy lifestyles, hot beverages are good for sales too. In fact, tea is the most popular drink in the UK besides tap water, bought by 87% of households.

The trend for plant based food and drink shows no sign of abating. For years veganism has been a minority within a minority but as people become more ecologically minded about where their food and drinks are sourced from, producers all over the world have seen an increased demand for vegan-friendly products in their ranges. The number of Vegans in the UK is set to skyrocket 327% by the end of 2020 and around 2.2 million people will adopt veganism, increasing the population to around 2.9 million people.

Of course, it would be remiss not to mention the coronavirus outbreak here. In this most challenging of times, the grocery industry has proved its true value by going above and beyond the call of duty to help communities.

Some Nisa retailers have offered a free delivery service to anyone in self isolation, while others have delivered hand sanitiser to charities, schools, churches and foodbanks. One has installed a hand washing station outside the store.

Wholesalers including JW Filshill have worked closely with suppliers to ensure a consistent flow of availability.

JJ Foodservice has launched a new home delivery service while foodservice wholesaler Thomas Ridley has put more resources behind its online ordering and click & collect services.

All of which demonstrates it’s not just about profit, it’s about people and planet too.