The UK food industry is in growing rude health and coping well with the changing consumer tastes, boosted by health issues and busy lifestyles as our sections on breakfast and chilled foods clearly show. As a clue, Caterforce is predicting sales of over £600m in 2021, with revenue of £537m forecast in 2019, a 9.1% rise over 2017. Caterforce is one of the biggest food service buying and marketing consortiums in the UK.
Getting top line market intelligence, however, so essential to keep ahead of the curve, is something best left to the data experts, hints Tom Fender, the newly appointed development director of route to market (RTM) data specialist, TWC. The RTM market is worth about £26bn annually and suppliers find it difficult to identify which retailers and categories are purchasing their products and ultimately whether they are reaching the right end of the consumer. As Tom explains in our interview wholesalers understand this and sell their shipment data to suppliers and so there is no greater clarity on this complex supply chain that involved getting suppliers products to 46,000 convenience stores and 360,000 food-to-go outlets.
In our interview with Kerry Holmes, the new wholesale manager at salad specialist Florette, well known in the supermarket and convenience channels, she would identify with the importance of good data. She comes with a wealth of cross category experience gained at firms like Britvic and will manage accounts like Booker, Costco and Bestway. Big question she says, is can salads be sold in the same way as pet food and soft drinks. While soft drinks and pet food could be sold in higher quantities, salads are more challenging due to the nature of the produce and the need for it to be chilled.
The price of sandwiches varies widely, typically from as low as 99p up to £4 or more but at Adelie Foods, whose Urban Eat is the number 1 sandwich brand, as explained in this issue, believes consumers want choice and are willing to pay for it. They are dissuaded from buying a cheaper food-to-go. A 99p sandwich is a big turnoff says head of category marketing, Wayne Smith. The company has unveiled four new ranges dubbed as a line up with attitude, tapping into the latest food trends and broadening its appeal with innovative recipes and flavours.
Muller, who have invested so much recently in UK expansion is also carrying the flag for the environment by committing to removing all plastic straws by 2020, with the help of some school children.
Whatever your food tastes and delivery needs are you can be sure that Britain’s leading suppliers are on the case to obey the first law of marketing, namely giving the customer what the customer wants. If you disagree then why not see our sections on breakfast food and the chilled food industries.