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Durham-based healthy snacking wholesaler, Epicurium, has appointed its first Trading Manager, James Christie, as demand from retailers and SMEs looking to cater to their customer’s increasingly diverse dietary requirements continues to grow.

James, whose previous roles include purchasing products for five-star hotels on behalf of a multinational outsourcing company, will be responsible for identifying food trends and curating a variety of brands which tap into consumer requirements, including ‘free from’, vegan and protein-rich products.

Speaking about his new role, working alongside brands including Propercorn, Deliciously Ella and LARABAR, James said: “I’m delighted to be taking on this new role, helping to ensure Epicurium is at the forefront of innovation, pushing each of our brands to its full potential and matching them to the specific needs of our clients, to ensure they continue to wow their customers.

“I’m excited to tackle this new challenge, there is such an opportunity at the moment for independent retailers to really differentiate themselves in the marketplace, and gain significant footfall, through careful curation of the brands they offer.

“In turn brands that are able to deliver products that tap into hot customer trends retailers are being asked about can find themselves quickly shifting from emerging trend to wider national appeal.”

Epicurium provides healthy snacking options to convenience stores, cafes, offices and other eateries across the UK from its Consett-based distribution hub, to ensure a 24 to 48-hour turnaround.

Speaking about James’ appointment, Epicurium MD Ben McKechnie, said: “We are delighted to welcome James to this newly created role within the business. His knowledge of consumer trends and product innovation puts him in a great position to identify specific opportunities that healthy snacking brands can tap into, furthering their growth in the UK consumer market.

“As a company we have been delighted by the growth we’ve seen in healthy snacking in the UK and James’ appointment allows us to expand our reach, curating a range of brands beloved by customers and offering our clients a true differentiator against big supermarkets and online competitors. Looking forward, all signs indicate that the health and wellbeing market will continue to grow as consumers become increasingly aware of more nutritionally beneficial alternatives to popular snacks.

“The issues of sustainability and ethical production are very hot topics right now and we work with a number of exciting independent manufacturers which are tackling this head-on, whether that’s manufacturing in the UK or creating palm-oil free products. As customers become more conscious of the ethics behind their purchases, manufacturers who are addressing these issues will continue to flourish.”

Founded in 2011, Epicurium has quickly grown to become a trusted wholesaler to a range of food outlets, providing bespoke advice as well as quick and convenient access to a wide selection of premium healthy snack manufacturers catering to a variety of dietary requirements.

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