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Well known in the supermarket and convenience channels is the leading salad brand Florette. With the appointment of a new national Wholesale Manager, the business is weighting its presence in the wholesale sector to support convenience retailers. Kerry brings with her more than 10 years cross category experience spent working with wholesalers at Britvic and Butchers Pet Care.

This is what Kerry had to say to Wholesale Manager:

“My role involves managing my current accounts Booker, Costco and Bestway, as well as seeking out new opportunities in which to promote/distribute our products.

Wholesale is an environment she knows well: “I looked after Booker, Bestway and Unitas in my previous role and now I’m looking after Booker, Bestway and Costco. Although some of my customers are the same, I have different buyers due to the difference in category.”

Kerry started her role at Florette in June, and says she is “looking forward to exploring new ways to sell our products. Wholesale is such a complex sector, however there are effective ways in which to get Florette to the end user.”

So, here’s the big question – can salads be sold in the same way as soft drinks and petcare?

“Soft drinks and petfood could be sold in higher quantities to more outlets but salad is more challenging, due to the nature of the product and the need for it to be chilled. There are obviously learnings I will take from my previous roles, for example I’m currently running a convenience van sales trial, a tactic which also proved successful in previous roles.” The fresh and healthy food trends seen recently across the grocery categories are very relevant to Florette, says Kerry:

“The produce industry is at the forefront of the health trend but is often held back by the prep time needed to consume these foods. Prepared Produce provides shoppers and consumers with healthy, more convenient meal inspirations.

“Moreover, the growth in trends such as veganism is helping to drive sales of prepared produce as consumers look for alternatives to meat products and convenience stores tap into these new social norms.” Florette is also involved in supplying salad to foodservice customers via wholesalers, says Kerry: “I would say 80% of all our wholesale sales are to catering and foodservice accounts. I will be looking to grow this business but also continue to sell into other areas such as convenience.”

Florette has the bestselling SKUs across multiple sectors of the leafy prepared salads category. Florette Crispy 115g is the number one selling Leafy Salad SKU in convenience stores, worth £1m annually and growing +0.4%, Florette Mixed 150g follows closely as the largest ‘mild mix’ SKU in convenience and Florette Baby Spinach 100g is the largest single leaf SKU in convenience. (Nielsen Convenience value 52 we 07.09.19)

Florette recommends a minimum credible range of top sellers in the convenience channel to provide choice and help retailers improve instore experience and consistency. In small stores, the recommendation is Florette Sweet and Crunchy bowl 110g. In medium stores the suggested line up is Florette Classic Crispy 115g, Florette Sweet and Crunchy bowl 110g, Florette Baby Spinach 100g, Florette Mixed 150g, and Florette Sweet and Crunchy bag 200g. In larger stores the offer put forward is Florette Classic Crispy 170g, Florette Sweet and Crunchy bowl 110g, Florette Baby Spinach 250g, Florette Mixed 150g, Florette Sweet and Crunchy bag 250g, Florette Babyleaf & Rocket 80g, Florette Bistro 130g and Florette Wild Rocket 60g.

Under Kerry’s leadership Florette is adapting its product portfolio and marketing processes to also fit the convenience wholesale channel:

“This is currently a work in progress as I’m running trials to find the right fit for the convenience accounts, such as smaller packs, twin packs and bowls. Fresh and Chilled is a growing category for convenience retailers, as switched on retailers want to provide a top up shop across all areas of their business. We need to make sure we are providing the right range for these smaller stores as well as offering advice across the whole category. Obviously, waste is a major concern when it comes to shorter shelf life products and I will be exploring solutions such as smaller or mixed cases.”

Kerry is enthusiastic about the likely learnings of the exercise:

“This process will give me insights into the size of the opportunity as well as what price point, product and case size we need to offer. Brands are important for convenience shoppers as they signal quality (IGD Shopper Vista Brands and Private Label in C Stores July 2018). The Florette brand’s strength is its continued commitment to marketing and product innovation. There are still lots of strong sales opportunities for convenience retailers to maximise – consumers who want to eat lighter, healthier, easy-to-prepare meals will be looking to their convenience stores for pre-packed salad that only requires them to open the bag and serve.“

Completing the picture, helping shoppers look for inspiration about what to pair with their favourite foods can assist them with their mealtimes and encourage higher basket spend, says Kerry:

“We expect our current strong branded performance in the convenience channel to continue, with shoppers seeking quality fresh foods at an affordable price. Florette has a central role in inspiring shoppers to eat healthier and the convenience channel is well placed to drive core missions and occasions further.”

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