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

I expect the huge increasing focus on sustainability to continue and grow both for wholesalers and retailers.

The wholesale business model is an easy and effective carbon-reducing option for retailers, consolidating their products into as few deliveries as possible, so dramatically reducing their carbon footprint.

Wholesalers will be looking to develop more sustainability into their own business. For example, Cotswold Fayre has already become carbon and plastic neutral. Electric lorries should also start being viable by the end of 2022 and wholesalers will be looking closely at their distribution fleet.

I anticipate that carbon labelling will also become more important. Some manufacturers are already declaring carbon neutrality and I think the public will start to want to know more about the carbon impact of the food they are eating.

Upcycling of food that would otherwise go to waste is here already and I expect this to increase further during 2022.

Paul Hargreaves is CEO of Cotswold Fayre a UK speciality food wholesaler and Flourish, a new foodhall and kitchen. He is also an ambassador for the B Corp movement and has written two books on the new way of doing business, Forces for Good & The Fourth Bottom Line.

What will be the key categories to watch out for?

All products that enable a reducetarianism or omnivore diet will continue to do well.

A recent report by The Vegan Society and BOSH! revealed that 28% of those surveyed have cut back or removed meat completely from their diet and 19% have removed or cut down on dairy*.

As consumers eat less meat and milk-based products, they will become more curious about and confident in plant-based products and more adventurous in their baking and cooking.

Lab grown meat is here but remains very expensive. I believe that the price will need to come down before this becomes mainstream.

There is a heightened awareness surrounding health, and the role that food and drink can play when looking for ways to develop a healthier physical and mental lifestyle.

I expect that products that help gut health, anxiety or sleep will do well in 2022. CBD or adaptogens such as magnesium and zinc that are understood to help bodies improve their natural resistance to stress will also do well.

How can wholesalers best prepare for 2022?

The current supply chain crisis with rampant food inflation and increasing driver salaries will continue to be the largest cause of angst for wholesalers in 2022.

It is hard to say what we can do to mitigate this except factor in the higher distribution costs into our forecasts, be flexible with pricing policies and work even closer with suppliers to understand the challenges they face.

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

Yes, it will continue to grow but at a lower rate than the last two years. Consumers are enjoying the better service and social connection of shopping with specialists such as butchers, cheesemongers, and greengrocers and this cannot be replicated online.

The Q-commerce sector will become an increasing force to be reckoned with, but perhaps remain with a younger, digitally always on shopper.

Do consumers still love local shopping?

Yes, and this has been a high contributory factor in our fastest ever growth in the history of the company over the past two years.

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

There is, of course, still much debate about what constitutes healthy eating, but I expect that health claims on products will continue to grow and foods that are associated with a balanced lifestyle will continue to grow and develop.

*Attest, May 2021, 1,000 UK respondents working age, nationally representative for age gender and home region

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