FWD – Marking a century of wholesale excellence

The FWD 2018 Gold Medal Awards recently presented at Old Billingsgate in London celebrated two special anniversaries for Britain’s foremost wholesale body – 30 years of the Gold Medal Awards and 100 years since the formation of the federation now known as FWD.

In the FWD Gold Medal Wholesale Awards Bidfood won a grand total of four prizes. Jon Mack of Bidfood, Scotland won Delivered Depot Manager: Janette Loughrey of Bidfood, Wakefield won Telesales Executive: and the Edinburgh depot won best Depot Team. Their winning citation included championing Fairshare and donating surplus stock to the charity’s Edinburgh warehouse.

Completing Bidfood’s trophies, Katie Sillars at Bidfood, Scotland won Young Wholesaler. Since joining Bidfood 18 months ago, Katie has built relationships with local suppliers and increased net sales with the launch of a Scottish food and drink range. She also runs Bidfood’s Scottish export initiative and is an industry ambassador for Bidfood, mentoring food and drink start-ups in her spare time.

JJ Food Service won two awards, Wholesale Service to Caterers and the Digital Innovation Award. This year has seen JJ increase turnover significantly, launch a credit card to improve customers’ cash flow, introduce an Amazon-style delivery notification service, host trade days for caterers and help customers improve their green credentials with the new Eco-Packaging category.

The company has also invested heavily in e-learning to improve customer service. In other honours Costco Wholesale Thurrock’s Manager Jon Reed won the Cash & Carry Manager award. Jon started his Costco career at Thurrock, returning as manager in 2016, since when it has become Costco’s most profitable UK warehouse. Joyce Johnston at JW Filshill won the Customer Support Award. Like Bidfood’s Katie Sillars, Joyce has been in her job just 18 months and has blazed a trail of excellence, instigating daily department meetings and creating a customer communication framework.

The 2018 FWD Gold Medal Awards also included Green Wholesaler of the Year. In the past twelve months this year’s winner Brakes has introduced several initiatives to raise standards, including a plan to deal with problem plastics and becoming the first wholesaler to introduce Gas to Liquid to replace diesel in its London fleet. It is also the first wholesaler to sign up to WRAP’s UK Plastics Pact, it has driven up recycling rates, and achieved its 2020 target of a 20% carbon reduction two years early.

The evening also saw the presentation of the Supplier Awards, nominated and voted for by FWD wholesalers and presented by FWD Chief Executive, James Bielby. The winners were:

• Grocery Brand – Maltesers Buttons, Mars Wrigley Confectionery:

• Drinks Brand – JJ Whitley Gin, Halewood Wines & Spirits:

• Foodservice Brand – Nescafe, Nestle Professional:

• Service to Retail – Red Bull:

• Service to Caterers – Aimia Foods:

• Actionable Insight – Unilever UK:

• Product Innovation Retail – Maltesers Buttons, Mars Wrigley Confectionery:

• Product Innovation Foodservice – Azera Nitro, Nestle UK

• Process Innovation – Premier Foods:

• Gold Medal Young Supplier of the Year – Amy Ankrah, Boost Drinks The FWD 2018 Awards evening also said goodbye to a man who has played a huge part in the Federation for a large part of its first century. The Parfett family have been actively involved with the FWD for over 30 years, and Steve Parfett recently announced that he is leaving the now employee-owned Parfetts at the end of 2018.

Steve has been an FWD Council member for many years, serving several stints as Chairman. Steve’s contribution to wholesale was recognised in 2011 when he was presented with FWD’s Lifetime Achievement award, along with his father Alan and late brother Robert.