Welcome to the March-April edition of Wholesale Manager, the bi-monthly publication for wholesalers serving the independent retail, catering and foodservice sectors.
Food to go is one of the most valuable sales opportunities for wholesalers, caterers and retailers alike, from early morning to late at night. In our Breakfast feature Lantmännen Unibake, the Danish pastry and gourmet burger bun specialists, set out how wholesalers can help outlets of different kinds make the most of their breakfast and brunch offering with a strong selection of flavoursome, premium bakery products.
In our Grocery section, gourmet burgers also feature in the latest NPD from Rustlers, the microwaveable hot snacks suppliers. Luxury ice cream makers Ben & Jerry’s are equally on trend with their new variants, including Topped: Salted Caramel Brownie.
This is a busy time of year for market reports. The latest bulletin from Britvic shows soft drinks sales remaining steady in the convenience sector, leaving significant headroom for growth as consumers pursue healthier and onthe- go lifestyles. Meanwhile the second annual biscuit review from pladis, the UK’s no. 1 biscuits manufacturer, shows UK consumers continuing to demonstrate their loyalty to the £2.4 billion biscuit category with purchases from 99% of UK households. Biscuits were consumed on average three times a week and on nearly 6 billion occasions in 2016.
2017 is proving a momentous year for UK wholesaling. Ironically a supermarket is making the running! Tesco maintains its ongoing Booker acquisition will unlock more synergies than Booker’s operating profit for the 2016 financial year.
Tesco also came to Palmer & Harvey’s rescue a few weeks back when they signed a three-year extension to P&H’s contract to distribute tobacco to Tesco UK stores, ambient non-tobacco to Tesco forecourts and frozen food to over 1,700 Tesco Express stores.
It’s hard to tell the impact on P&H and others from the estimated 20% of independent retailers now ordering from wholesalers on line. Long established businesses like P&H also face increasing pressure from the new wave of wholesalers like Innovative Bites, the confectionery importer and wholesaler. As reported in this issue Innovative Bites has just bought Hancocks, the sweets wholesaler, after buying Bonds of London last April.
Finally, our Quote Unquote section features Roseanne Vickers, Marketing Manager at Clipper UK, the iconic lighters and smokers’ accessories supplier. The regulations about sale of tobacco have changed the game completely, cigarette lighters, rolling papers and accessories continue to be strong sellers through the wholesale cash & carry sector, keeping Roseanne and her colleagues busy.