Welcome to the April issue of Wholesale Manager. As the nation marked the first anniversary of lockdown in March, the latest figures from Kantar show take-home grocery sales rose by 7.4% during the 12 weeks to 21 March. Sales were down 3.0% year on year in the most recent four weeks, as the market annualises against the record-breaking spending of March 2020. It’s worth noting grocery spending remains 15.6% higher than pre-pandemic levels in 2019.


Hospitality, of course, has had a far tougher time than grocery over the last year. That’s why foodservice wholesaler Brakes has launched a wide-reaching new campaign designed to help get hospitality customers back on their feet, once they are able to reopen after the current nationwide lockdown. The campaign is the most extensive Brakes has ever run, and was informed by extensive research into what matters most to hospitality customers. It aims to put money back in the pockets of hard-pressed hospitality businesses who have had to weather an unprecedented storm created by the Coronavirus. It comprises more than 3,500 price cuts, a ‘cash back’ style scheme that can help reward businesses and bespoke promotions, all complemented by support for some of the UK’s leading hospitality charities.

Heartwarming news as A.F. Blakemore has launched a charity campaign in memory of much-loved SPAR retailer Raj Aggarwal. The company is calling on convenience retailers across the UK to join its #SPARdoasRAJwoulddo and #doasRAJwoulddo campaign by donating to those most in need in their local communities. Raj Aggarwal, who owned SPAR stores in Wigston, Leicester, and Hackenthorpe, near Sheffield, sadly passed away from Covid-19 in April 2020 at the age of just 51.

As lockdown restrictions ease, wholesalers will want to stock up on the proven sellers in foodservice, like premium crisps. Those wholesalers focused on retail are advised to provide a broad range of sharing and impulse crisps and snacks. Matt Smith, Marketing Director, Tayto Group, tells our Supplier Spotlight page why the crisps and snacks market will grow over the next five years and how the category should be merchandised in-depot.

Worth £1.5 billion, energy drinks is a high value, high growth category and one of the best performing sectors in the soft drinks market. Following extensive research, Emerge, from Refresco Beverages, has been given a new look and feel and is constantly extending its range with new flavours, the most recent being 500ml Cherry Isotonic. Nick Partridge, Commercial Manager at Refresco Beverages UK, explains in a Supplier Spotlight interview what trends are driving the UK energy drinks market.

Sustainability is one of the key issues for consumers: they want to know exactly where their food comes from and how it’s made; they expect companies to be socially and environmentally responsible and to offer sustainable, traceable products. Our sustainability supplement reveals how suppliers are meeting consumer demand for more sustainable products.

Enjoy reading the issue.

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