OCTOBER DIGITAL EDITION – Tech’s here but talent’s vital

There’s a strong tradition of family businesses in British wholesaling. After 25 years leading Confex, our best wishes go to Nicky White, stepping down as MD and being replaced by Tom Gittins. Confex Buying Group has over 240 members and has welcomed 31 new members this year.

READ THE OCTOBER ISSUE HERE

Today’s wholesalers have a wealth of tech to help. Confex offers its members “white label” apps, with their own logo and branding. In our interview Mushtaque Ahmed, JJ Foodservice COO says that with most of their orders placed online, JJ Foodservice has made customers’ shopping easier with the Fingerprint ID and One Tap Pay.

Dorset-based Hunts Foodservice is more traditional, with just 10% of orders placed online but MD Richard Hunt says they too are modernising their processes. Meanwhile Bestway Wholesale has made its e-commerce website easier to shop. Tech is also at the heart of A.F. Blakemore’s new Store Cluster Strategy, based on over 500 million shopper transactions.

The warehouse is a fundamental part of the supply chain but to work efficiently it requires a delicate balance of supply, demand and stock control solutions, says Dave Hughes, Business Development Management at Business Computer Projects Ltd in our Warehouse section.

It’s been a busy year for Gary Black, Coca-Cola European Partners’ Sales Director, Wholesale and Convenience. Since last autumn’s interview CCEP has launched Coca-Cola Energy, bought Costa Coffee and upped its investment in recycling. CCEP is proud to be a local manufacturer and supplier in Britain, employing 3,600 and making 97% of its UK products here.

In our features frozen food is a foodservice mainstay, yet in retail many people only buy frozen for a handful of product types. Frozen is seeing a retail rebirth, with Birds Eye and Quorn actively premiumising their ranges.

In our Christmas feature super premium beers, wines and spirits loom large over the season as items needing constant topping up, along with sharing packs and gifting products. Healthy living trends show strongly too, in confectionery, soft drink and beer and wine. CBD is up alongside plant-based in trending NPD. With the latest CBD soft drinks wholesalers and retailers can offer products to provide calmness and tranquillity during the period. But there’s no peace for parents who forget the batteries for the prezzies, as our Battery feature reminds us, hence the desperate dash to the local shop on Christmas morning.

And finally, this is The Sausage Man’s fifteenth anniversary. The UK’s leading German sausage wholesaler was born after German expat David Rundel couldn’t find quality German sausages at events here. Based near Bluewater, The Sausage Man’s fleet make daily deliveries around London. Sehr gut!