What do you think will be the biggest emerging trends in wholesaling in 2022?

I see two significant trends – firstly, concentrating on core ranges that customers must have, day in, day out, across the channels that they serve. We should be more demanding and supportive of our supplier partners. Secondly, capitalising on the emerging business model of providing wider ranges through a digital catalogue without having to stock as inventory inside traditional bricks and mortars.

David Lunt, Managing Director of NBC.

What will be the key categories to watch out for?

Fresh, Healthy, Accessible – buzz words that will apply to how our supplier partners will try to capitalise upon consumer trends.

How can wholesalers best prepare for 2022?

Concentrate on the basics – service levels on core categories. Get digital as soon as possible – make it easier for customers to order a wider range al relatively low cost to serve. But perhaps more importantly – recruit, train, retain and develop staff to deliver the necessary service levels.

Do you think online shopping will increase over the next year?

Absolutely – from a consumer perspective the pandemic created the perfect opportunity for providers to move consumers online, at pace and scale. Whilst that pace may have changed, it will have changed behaviours and the current generations that see this as a natural behaviour will continue to grow Business to Consumer as a channel. From a wholesaler perspective, the use of online ordering will grow as it provides a more flexible means for customers to build their order pads and helps fulfil the emerging trend of providing wider ranges without it being a physical stockholding.

Do consumers still love local shopping?

From our experience yes – our members that serve local and convenience are seeing strong demand for the product ranges that are relevant to the consumer needs and occasions.

Will wholesalers need to make better use of technology to survive?

Yes, but not for survival. In our experience they provide an essential element of the supply chain to get food and beverages to consumers through the channels that they serve. Technology can help in two ways – facilitating the order to cash process more efficiently, and providing a more effective and productive sales, marketing and order capture facility.

Will consumers stay in more and will there consequently be more products aimed at in-home consumption?

Unless there is another public health crisis that demands government action, consumers will be more active and engaging with the wider out of home experience. Government investment in the economy is more than likely to create sufficient consumer confidence to have the disposable income to spend. Consumer confidence should therefore be driven more by the economy than the public health situation.

Will healthy eating and wellness be even bigger trends in 2022?

Healthy eating is here to stay – consumers are more demanding, governments are more conscious of the wider effect of un-healthy eating and doing something about it, and suppliers of ingredients or finished products will have to meet consumer demands AND legislation. The role of the wholesaler is to make sure they are able to get the right products to the right customers, on time and in full every time so that consumer demand is fully met.

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