Welcome to the May-June 2018 issue of Wholesale Manager. After the heartbreaking headlines about plastic in the sea it’s good to see the wholesale sector tackling plastic waste in the supply chain. As reported on our front cover, with its ‘2 Zero 20’ campaign, Brakes becomes the UK’s first major foodservice wholesaler to announce a formal plan on its use of nonrecyclable hard black plastics.


It’s a tough trading environment out there, with rising petrol and diesel prices pumping the pressure on suppliers, wholesalers and customers. And if the Sainsburys/ Asda merger goes ahead, the experts predict the big supermarkets will put the price squeeze on suppliers, who are likely to look in turn to wholesalers to make up the shortfall.

Meanwhile with over half the UK population planning to watch the matches on TV, this month’s World Cup provides a major opportunity for wholesalers and retailers to boost their food and drink sales across the board. Here’s to England lasting beyond the group stage! Summer is also a great time for barbecues, days out and big nights in, so grab the chance to bag food and drink sales and profits.

As our Summer Drinks feature reminds us, even before the World Cup starts, the UK drinks industry is positively fizzing, with the Royal Wedding sending sales bubbling and sparkling wine and Prosecco in particular the big winners. The other side of the Summer Drinks coin is of course soft drinks and waters, also highlighted in our feature. Recent research from Mintel reveals 32% of Brits had reduced or limited their alcohol intake and 51% of the nation’s beer, wine and cider drinkers were drinking less than a few years ago. So make sure you have a healthy selection of soft drinks and waters for your customers.

Another major sales and profit opportunity is Tobacco, Smoking Accessories & Vaping, as our feature in this issue points out. Announcing their latest results, Bestway said the 2.0% revenue decrease in its wholesale business was in line with the broader wholesale sector, and was due to pressure on tobacco sales. Even so, tobacco and smokers’ accessories remain major traffic builders and profit generators for cash & carries, wholesalers and the retailers they serve, while vaping continues to surge as an alternative to cigarettes and an aid to giving up the habit. As Matthew Moden, Director of UK vape suppliers Liberty Flights, says in our exclusive interview, the UK vaping market is forecast to grow to a £4bn plus category by 2021.

And finally, with ticket sales surpassing any previous GroceryAid event, it’s heads up for the Barcode Festival on 28 June, set to be this summer’s industry fundraising event, with over 1,200 grocery colleagues from retail and wholesale coming together to support the charity and wholesale sector sponsors including Bestway and Booker. We’ll have news and pictures from the day in our next issue. Meanwhile don’t miss our Quote Unquote interview with Helen Kershaw, GroceryAid’s Marketing Communications Manager. Have a great summer!

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