It’s March and Spring is in the air, but what might not be in the future, if Philip Morris Limited achieve their ambitious plans, is cigarette smoke. Over the past couple of years the tobacco giant has stated its bold intent to transform itself into a smoke-free business, replacing cigarettes with IQOS heated tobacco.


In this month’s issue we speak to Kate O’Dowd, Head of Field Force UK&I for Philip Morris Ltd, about their heat-not burn cigarette and vape alternative, and the opportunities this opens for wholesalers and retailers.

To date, they have sold more than 100,000 IQOS devices in the UK and the sale of heated tobacco sticks (‘HEETS’) is growing 2-3% each week.

“Our research shows that 80% of smokers who try IQOS for 7 days switch completely from cigarettes,” says Kate.

What’s more, in the run up to the menthol cigarette ban in May, Philip Morris are offering retailers the opportunity to register to stock their Menthol Heated Tobacco Kit which will contain the IQOS device and two packs of mentholated HEETS.

Find out more from Kate in our Supplier Spotlight feature.

Visions of the future landscape is a theme that runs through our other features too.

Lucy Pedrick, Head of Insights & Customer Experience at Bidfood UK gives her time to talk to us in our Focus on Foodservice feature about how the business is shaping up in 2020.

Currently the foodservice experts have 24 depots operating across the UK and most of them are no more than 80 miles away from their customers.

But it is the digital side that has really impressed in recent years, with 56.6% of their business online. There are also interesting points on sustainability and mental health issues amongst the workforce.

Mainly though, Lucy’s interview sets the stage for the big reveal – Bidfood’s 2020 dining trends research – that looks at food, drink and dining trends set to shape the industry for the future.

I won’t give away too much here but suffice to say the findings are a feast for the senses!

Our final feature, Meet the Marketer sees us have a fascinating chat with Levi Boorer, Customer Development Director at Ferrero about the chocolate champion’s plans ahead of Easter, one of its busiest periods.

There’s plenty of solid news from the wholesaling world overleaf, including Britvic announcing one of the first sustainability linked credit facility deals in the UK (to the tune of £400m) – a sign perhaps of the way mainstream financing may be heading in the future.

Meanwhile, Bestway Wholesale are promising an improved customer online shopping experience following several advancements to its digital platforms.

Customers will now find it easier, says the group, to find products and multi-buy shop, plus there is further utilisation of the customer engagement platform ‘Beam’.

As usual, you will find the latest launches, trends and top tips in our category features, which span Price Marked Packs, Biscuits & Cakes, Ice Cream & Frozen Food, BBQ, Summer Food & Drinks.

Finally, we cover – and say congratulations – to all the wholesalers from across Scotland who were rewarded for their innovation, excellence and professionalism at the prestigious Scottish Wholesale Achievers awards.

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