Cash & Carry Management August 21

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John Kinney on taking a more member-centric approach at Unitas

Booker threatened with strike action by HGV drivers


Back to School/Freshers Big Night In Catering Update Tobacco, Accessories &

Next-Generation Products


p.3 Contents Aug 21_Ivan Durkin feature 1 real 09/08/2021 11:54 Page 1


August 2021

This month don’t miss... 07 16

Blakemore relaunches Bala store under the SPAR Market fascia.



New mental health first aiders include Confex’s Jess Douglas.

Filshill is No.1 in wholesale in the Advantage Group survey.



Editor’s Comment Industry News Products & Promotions


Interview John Kinney of Unitas Wholesale talks about the changes he has made since taking over as managing director in April and his priorities for the rest of the year.


Spotlight Helen Bradshaw, sales & marketing director of Hancocks.


Supplier Strategy Matt Collins, trading director of KP Snacks, explains why wholesale will continue to form an important part of the supplier’s strategy.

Outside of work, Helen Bradshaw of Hancocks is most proud of juggling a fun and hectic family life with her career. Promotio n of the month



Socialising at home is expected to remain popular.

Halewood supports JJ Whitley with a £3.5 million campaign.


Back to School/Freshers With the new term approaching, the trade is gearing up to meet the needs of students.

26 34 36

Big Night In Catering Update Tobacco, Accessories & NGPs Suppliers offer advice on making the most of the tobacco category.

August 2021


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The importance of positive PR


n more than three decades of writing about issues affecting the cash & carry/delivered wholesale industry, I have never before heard of trade union action against a wholesaler. But now Booker is facing a possible strike by HGV drivers at its Thamesmead depot after it refused to pay them the same temporary rise of £5 an hour that it awarded to drivers at its Hemel Hempstead site. The union Unite had planned to ballot the Thamesmead drivers for strike action and industrial action short of a strike. As Cash & Carry Management went to press, Booker had agreed to meet Unite for talks (page 6) but only after the union had tried repeatedly to engage with Booker’s management and the dispute had been covered by the media. At that point, Booker put out a statement that said: “We are working closely with our suppliers, our colleagues at our distribution centres and Unite to manage the issue and find the best way forward.” However, in response, Unite told Cash & Carry Management: “We have been in touch twice in the last four days to engage in pay talks with management, but our endeavours are being ignored – there is no reply. We are ready for talks, but the bosses are intransigent.” A couple of days later, Booker did agree to talks. I asked Booker why wouldn’t it pay the same temporary rise to all of its HGV drivers, but it declined to answer. It did

John Kinney on taking a more member-centric approach at Unitas

Booker threatened with strike action by HGV drivers

Kirsti Sharratt Managing Editor




tell Unite that the reason some drivers got the increase and others didn’t was because of “a unique situation”. Now, Booker may well have a valid defence for taking this course of action, but it has done itself no favours in allowing the dispute to get to this stage. Even if the matter is resolved to the drivers’ satisfaction, the company’s erstwhile excellent reputation has been tarnished. This case contrasts with the successful tactics that many wholesalers have used to attract and retain staff so that they can maintain high customer service levels. For example, Harlech Foodservice has taken on an extra 15 delivery drivers (page 7) and is even going out to pick up stock from suppliers who are short of drivers themselves. The Criccieth-based wholesaler also plans to recruit at least 20 more warehouse nightshift staff after introducing a late-night ordering service for its customers. The employees will get a £500 bonus if they stay with the firm until the end of September. Not only is that good for the staff but it is also a PR triumph. The current shortage of HGV drivers (and other wholesale staff) means that people qualified for these roles can, to some extent, be choosy about where they work. A firm’s public image, and the way it treats its workforce, are key to attracting – and retaining – employees.


Cash & Carry Management is free to cash & carry and delivered wholesale directors, buyers and managers. The magazine is available to other subscribers for just £74 a year or £7 per copy. Overseas yearly subscriptions are priced at £95. Back issues dating back to 2011 are available online.


Back to School/Freshers Big Night In Catering Update Tobacco, Accessories &

Next-Generation Products

Email or call (01342) 712100 for more information.

Address Winlove Publications Ltd PO Box 366 East Grinstead RH19 4ZE Tel (01342) 712100 Email Publisher Winlove Publications Ltd EDITORIAL Managing Editor Kirsti Sharratt Contributor Siobhan Kielty Contributor Kevin Whitlock ADVERTISING AND MARKETING Publishing Director Martin Lovell Media Sales Manager Clare Phillips 4,448 July 2018 – June 2019 Audit Bureau of Circulations Printed by Bishops Printers ISSN 1352-254X All media rates, feature lists and deadlines can be accessed online by visiting:

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August 2021


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Booker agrees to union talks over pay As Cash & Carry Management went to press, Booker had agreed to meet the union Unite for talks. This followed the C&C/delivered wholesaler’s refusal to pay the 30 HGV drivers at its Thamesmead depot the same temporary rise of £5 an hour that it had awarded to drivers at its Hemel Hempstead site. Unite had planned to ballot the Thamesmead drivers for strike action and industrial action short of a strike. Cash & Carry Management asked Booker why wouldn’t it pay the same temporary rise to all of its HGV drivers but it declined

to answer. All Booker had told Unite (as this article went to press) was that the temporary rise was given to the drivers at its Hemel Hempstead site because of a “unique situation”. Unite regional officer Paul Travers commented: “We are facing a serious HGV driver shortage across the UK.

“Due to this well-publicised shortage, Booker Retail Partners put in place a temporary uplift in pay of £5 an hour for the drivers at Hemel Hempstead; however, when we approached the company in regards to an uplift for our members at Thamesmead, the bosses refused. “The drivers are paid a

low rate of pay. The company seems to think this is acceptable and has consistently refused to meet our demand for a temporary uplift until pay negotiations start in September. “Due to the shortage of HGV drivers, pay rates are increasing rapidly across the industry and the management are burying their heads in the sand over this development.” The Booker depot at Thamesmead services over 1,500 convenience stores across London, the south and the south east. a Booker (01933) 371000 a

‘Businesses will need to stay agile’ In the second issue of its quarterly Viewpoint report, the economics team at IGD focused on the challenges emerging for the food and consumer goods industry as the economy continues to recover. The research highlighted three key themes:

Labour shortages are likely to continue and to create operational difficulties. a Other inflation pressures are also mounting. a UK transition out of the EU is ongoing – expect friction in UK/EU and GB/NI goods movement.

Significant risks to the recovery remain Businesses need to remain alert and agile as a number of factors could mean bumps in the road to recovery: a Possibility of further setbacks relating to COVID-19 due to the emergence of new viral variants.

The shopper landscape provides opportunities but also challenges Businesses will need to adapt to a shopper landscape that has been changed significantly, perhaps permanently, by COVID-19: a A hybrid working-fromhome/from-the-office model


August 2021


seems likely in the short term, creating operational issues (and opportunities) for retailers and suppliers. a Further recovery of foodservice and hospitality may act as a brake on growth for retailers in the short term, but will open up new routes to market for suppliers. a Shopper spending priorities are changing as new options become available, challenging spend on food and consumer goods. Government priorities are shifting As longer-term issues return to focus, Government priorities are shifting. Improving environmental and health outcomes will be key themes. Businesses have made good progress on improving both health and environmental practices. However, it is important to recognise that there is more to be done. A clear direction of policy by government will help

businesses to remain on track, but there are also opportunities to demonstrate leadership and shape policy. Naomi Kissman, strategy and corporate affairs director at IGD, said: “Shopper confidence in the UK is relatively strong, driving economic recovery. Rapid spread of the Delta variant and delaying the easing of restrictions is not thought to have presented significant new economic risk, but COVID-19 remains a major uncertainty. “Other challenges lie ahead as the UK navigates a tightening labour market and implementation of new border measures for goods imported from the EU. “With so many downside risks in play, businesses should not expect a smooth, straight recovery. Long-term planning will be difficult for a while, so businesses will need to stay agile.” a IGD (01923) 857141

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First SPAR Market store Blakemore Retail has relaunched its store in Bala under the SPAR Market fascia following a complete refurbishment. The SPAR Market format is designed especially for larger convenience stores, with a focus on fresh foods catering for customers on ‘making a meal’ or ‘grab and eat’ missions. Customers looking for meal solutions can choose from AF Blakemore’s County Bridge fresh meat range and an improved selection of products across fresh, frozen and grocery categories. Hoping to attract local shoppers and tourists, the store also has an extensive range of fresh produce and food from local suppliers. Meanwhile, for those looking for food on the go, a new Daily Deli hot service counter offers ready-to-eat food from breakfast through

to the evening. A self-serve Philpotts coffee machine, Tango Ice Blast frozen slush machine and F’real shakes & smoothies bar offer immediate refreshment. To enhance the customer experience, self-scan checkouts have been introduced to the shop for the first time. Home delivery is available via the Snappy Shopper app. For customers looking for more sustainable shopping solutions, the store features a SPAR Natural refill station

for dried goods. Blakemore Retail managing director Matt Teague said: “SPAR Market is an exciting new format for Blakemore Retail that will help differentiate our Bala store for the location and market.” With all staff members living within a mile of the shop, SPAR Bala prides itself on being a real community store. Since opening, it has raised more than £7,000 for local communities. a Blakemore (01902) 366066

Top-up rewards All retailers within the Bestway Retail symbol estate can now earn rebate rewards on qualifying purchases from Bestway and Batleys C&Cs in line with their current rebate structure. Historically, many Costcutter stores were not registered customers due to their supply being though Nisa. Bestway’s retail director Mike Hollis said: “Independent retailers need to top up their delivered services to ensure continuity of products and supplies at times of pressure to meet their individual needs and increased consumer demand. “Every retailer in our group now has access to our 65 depots in our Bestway and Batleys network and can earn rebate rewards on qualifying purchases.” a Bestway 020-8453 1234

More drivers and late-night ordering Harlech Foodservice, which has bases in Criccieth and Chester, has taken on an extra 15 delivery drivers and is also recruiting more warehouse staff to meet demand. Managing director David Cattrall said: “Our deliveries are rolling out as usual – we are even going out to pick up stock from suppliers. We are collecting 100 pallets a day that would normally be delivered to us. “This is a really busy time of the year for us as the schools have broken up and people are heading for the tourist spots across Mid and North Wales so it’s important to reassure our customers that they can rely on us for deliveries.”

David Cattrall with delivery vehicles ready to go out.

The reassurance comes as many wholesalers have been forced to reduce deliveries, and big gaps have appeared on the shelves as staff self-isolate after being pinged by NHS Track & Trace. Harlech has also begun a special late-night ordering

service – customers can order up to 10pm on Harlech’s website, and night staff at its depots then work through the small hours to pick the orders for delivery the next morning. Cattrall said: “The 10pm order cut-off has proved very

popular with our customers as it allows them to place and increase orders at the end of service and that’s why we are looking to recruit at least 20 more warehouse nightshift staff at £10.69 an hour and with a £500 bonus if they stay with us to the end of September.” He added: “We’ve been able to afford these rises because we worked on improving our systems and work practices during lockdown, for example by improving our e-commerce website which makes it easier for customers to search for products and see our transparent prices.” a Harlech Foodservice (01766) 810810

August 2021


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Successful candidates Nine executives from wholesalers and suppliers have completed their Mental Health First Aid training, Women in thanks to Wholesale, which organised and funded the course. The online training led to a certification that is accredited by The Royal Society for Public Health and the Department of Health. The successful candidates included: Jess Douglas, marketing & HR director at Confex; Holly Parrish, business development manager at Parfetts; Bethany Mitchell, technical assistant at Hunt’s Foodservice; Anita Oakhill, wholesale market controller at Unitas Wholesale; and Tabitha Hunter-Smale, head of business development at Sugro. a

App with enhanced features Parfetts has launched a new app that will allow retailers to get next-day delivery on orders placed up to midday of the day before. Customers can also use the app to manage click & collect orders and review previous purchases. The app is available on both iOS and Android and has enhanced features. Users can choose a range of scanning options. Multiple scan saves time by allowing each product scanned to count as one case, making the ordering process much quicker and efficient. It also comes with touch and face ID login features and is push notification enabled. Parfetts trialled the app with 25 retailers. The test generated useful insight into how the app can save time when making stocking decisions in-store. Data will be used to refine the app

Five firms combine

Brakes owner Sysco has brought together five specialist businesses under the banner of Sysco Speciality Group. Fresh Direct focuses on fruit, veg and dairy; M&J Seafood offers fish and seafood; Wild Harvest is a fine food specialist with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients; KFF is a regional provenance specialist; and Freshfayre offers fresh deli 08

August 2021

products, sandwiches, soups and bakery. CEO Raj Tugnait said: “Many customers are requesting consolidated deliveries, so by bringing these five businesses together, customers will enjoy all the benefits of receiving their fresh fish, fresh produce, and speciality ingredients in one single delivery.” a Sysco Speciality Group (01869) 365700

continually around customer needs. Digital channels have boomed for Parfetts over the last year and now account for up to 40% of weekly orders. The company’s GOLD (Go Local Direct) service has also grown in popularity and currently operates in five of its seven depots. This comprises a 24-hour model where depots work as a cash & carry from 6.30am to 6.30pm and are then used by the delivery and click &

collect teams to pick orders through the night. Parfetts is also continuing to invest in digital channels with a programme of enhancements to its website, customer apps and growth of social media channels. Guy Swindell, joint MD (designate), said: “Our new app means you can manage your stock requirements wherever you are. It’s an approach that informed our 24-hour depot concept.” a Parfetts 0161-429 0429

Four for the autumn Country Range Group has added four new cakes to its range for the autumn. The products – Chocolate & Ginger Cake (gluten-free), Pear & Maple Slice, Plum & Almond Slice and Rhubarb & Custard Tart – just need to be defrosted overnight before serving. They can be warmed in a conventional oven or microwave. Kate Bancroft, Country Range Group marketing manager, said: “Whether customers and guests want to celebrate or commiserate the end of summer, cake is always the answer and our new super selection of seductive autumn treats are just the ticket for success this September.

“Perfect for kitchens lacking the time and space to create their own cakes inhouse, these four fab desserts are sure to be a hit with caterers due to their great flavour and speedy preparation.” a Country Range Group (0845) 209 3777

Non price-marked packs are available. Retailers are free to set their own prices

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Winners of Advantage Group supplier survey In the latest Advantage Group report, JW Filshill and its convenience store group KeyStore have again been ranked No.1 by suppliers. The Glasgow-based wholesaler came out on top in the wholesale channel programme for the ninth year running while KeyStore led the fascia groups for the third consecutive year. Filshill’s chief executive officer Simon Hannah said: “It has been part of our strategy for many years to take a partnership approach with suppliers by collaborating with them, sharing information and making them part of our success story. “Through open and honest dialogue with suppliers we can identify opportunities, and by sharing the

Simon Hannah: ‘A partnership approach.’

insight/data we gather from our supply chain technology we are able to find solutions, predict key growth areas and work together on future plans, including new product development.” Hannah said that adopting virtual meeting techniques during the COVID crisis had been beneficial: “Some people we may not

Half-year results Kitwave Group has announced its financial results for the six months ended 30 April 2021 – prior to the flotation of the company on 24 May 2021. Revenues of £147.1 million were achieved. In the 12 months ended 30 April 2020, revenues were £399 million.

Operating profit was £800,000. In the 12 months ended 30 April 2020, it was £7.6 million. The results were affected by COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and, in particular, closures within the leisure and hospitality sector. Since April, trading has returned close to pre-pandemic levels. Paul Young, Kitwave CEO, said: “All of the group’s 10

August 2021

divisions experienced some level of impact from the stop-start nature of COVID19 restrictions. Supply to pubs, restaurants and vending machine operators was severely disrupted. In contrast, our frozen & chilled division was extremely resilient. “The board anticipates a buoyant market to return once COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are removed fully and has confidence that the group will continue to be one of the leading independent delivered wholesale providers in the UK. “The UK grocery and foodservice wholesale market remains highly fragmented and the directors believe this presents Kitwave with numerous additional growth opportunities.” The group currently has 26 depots. a Kitwave 0191-259 2277

have always been able meet face to face pre-COVID found it easier to engage with us in virtual meetings, and that gave us an opportunity to give them a better insight into our business and plans for the future.” The convenience/symbol group survey, which had over 300 submissions from suppliers, was conducted earlier this year, as was the wholesaler survey which had over 200 submissions. Meanwhile, Unitas Wholesale – of which Filshill is a member – has been rated top buying group in the Advantage Group report for the second year in succession. It was also ranked No.1 in the buying groups and selected leading wholesalers category for the second year.

In the areas of business relationships, personnel and organisation, and operational execution, the group saw particular improvements. John Kinney, managing director of Unitas, said: “It is our aspiration to be firstchoice business partner for suppliers, and therefore we are absolutely delighted to have been ranked number 1 once again in both reports. “Receiving the positive feedback on how well we collaborate with our partners is extremely pleasing. “We know that we can continue to build on our success with the Advantage Group data which is always beneficial in identifying areas that still require attention.” a JW Filshill 0141-883 7071 a Unitas (01302) 249909

September show

SPAR Scotland is to hold its second virtual trade show on 23 September. The event, which has the theme ‘One Family, One Vision’, will showcase various key business initiatives, products and services. SPAR Scotland will update suppliers, retailers and colleagues on its transformation journey and growth. There will be suppliers exhibiting, presentations from key suppliers, live Q&A sessions and promotional deals on the day for retailers. Suppliers will also have

an opportunity to increase the distribution and volumes of key products with a new platform for securing orders. In addition, there will be a presentation by former Royal Marine Commando Andy Grant, who will share his inspirational story of overcoming loss and adversity. In other news, CJ Lang has been presented with a RoSPA President’s Health & Safety Award after being given 11 consecutive Gold Awards for demonstrating high health & safety standards. a CJ Lang (01382) 512100


You deserve better.

a refreshing strawberry flavoured cider best served frosty over ice.

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Charity benefits As part of its Picture Portal scheme, Unitas Wholesale has donated £500 to Type 1 Families, a South Tees Diabetes UK charity. Picture Portal is a tool used to capture examples of promotional execution and activation across the Unitas membership. Members submit images each promotional period via a dedicated point of contact in each depot, known as an Optimisation Champion, and these images are shared with suppliers. Joe Tindle, supply chain manager at the Parfetts Middlesbrough depot, was selected by Unitas as the latest winner. In addition to the £500 charity donation, Tindle was given a £100 Amazon gift card. a Unitas (01302) 249909

Leads triple Since it relaunched its website a year ago, Nisa has seen the number of new retailer leads generated almost tripling year on year. The site, www.nisalocally., has consolidated and strengthened Nisa’s publicfacing web presence by demonstrating the Nisa offering to all stakeholders. 83% of the new leads came from organic searches through search engines, up 566% year on year. The site is also providing leads to Co-op. a Nisa Retail (01724) 282028


August 2021

Newcastle branch upgrade Hancocks is relaunching its Newcastle store with a grand reopening on 12 August. The depot, based in Chester Le Street, has been upgraded with a new reception area and new racking throughout. In addition, the checkouts, aisle-end boards, promotion areas and lighting have all been replaced to enhance the customer experience, and the store has been painted inside and out. On 12 August, more than 100 special offers will be available, and competitions and giveaways will be running throughout the day. The Shmoo Milkshake Truck will be there along with representatives from a number of suppliers including Nestlé, Swizzels and Haribo. Hancocks’ chief operating officer, Jonathan Summerley, who will also be attending the reopening, said: “The

last 18 months have been tough for businesses across the UK. Whilst online has boomed for everyone, investing in bricks and mortar stores is equally important and that’s something we’re committed to at Hancocks. “Our depots have always been an essential part of our business and many of our customers still prefer to purchase in this traditional way. They can also benefit from the years of experience and knowledge our dedicated

Move to new studio Caterforce has moved its specialist food and drink photography business to a new studio. Flavour Photography, based at Caterforce’s Macclesfield head office, was established more than 20 years ago and boasts a creative team of photographers, videographers and food stylists. The studio can list major food and drink suppliers such as Cadbury, Britvic, Youngs, WeightWatchers and Whitby Seafood among its clientele. However, the studio also works with smaller suppliers, restaurants, caterers, retailers and wholesalers to create images for social media, websites and publicity material.

The Flavour team can produce short, snappy recipe creations as well as more high-end food content, both images and video. “We pride ourselves on creating images that are engaging and beautiful, as well as achieving our clients’ commercial aim which is, of course, to sell their products,” said Jane Nowlan, Flavour’s studio manager. a Caterforce (01625) 440188

teams have when it comes to confectionery, find out about the trends in the marketplace, discover up and coming brands and of course take advantage of all our great deals and offers.” He continued: “We’re looking forward to welcoming customers back in. Our team will also be working hard to attract new customers.” The Newcastle branch is one of 14 Hancocks stores in the UK. a Hancocks (01509) 216644

Over £1m More than £1 million in orders was placed by members of Country Range Group at its latest Virtual Business Development Day. The event comprised ‘speed networking’ sessions lasting 30 minutes each and was attended by 16 suppliers. The content ranged from new product development to specific meetings focusing on product performance and future business plans. CRG marketing manager Kate Bancroft commented: “With many foodservice suppliers being hit the hardest during the pandemic, it’s vital that events like these continue so they can communicate with our member wholesalers.” a Country Range Group (0845) 209 3777

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Delivering in full for members In his first big interview since becoming managing director of Unitas Wholesale, John Kinney (below) talks to Cash & Carry Management’s managing editor Kirsti Sharratt about the next phase of the group’s development and its focus on being more member-centric.


nitas is currently conducting a full-scale strategic review headed by managing director John Kinney, who is determined to ensure that everything the group does is for the benefit of its members. Cash & Carry Management spoke to him to find out more: Since becoming MD in April, what changes have you made at Unitas? Most of the changes have been internal. For example, I have created a new commercial team headed up by Julian Smith, who was formerly senior trading controller. He reports directly to me, and his team’s role is to analyse the activities that we do to make sure they are driving real value through to our members. They are initially evaluating the benefits of our promotional schemes. Quite importantly, we have also changed some of the operational practices within our finance department to ensure we are rewarding our members with a much improved cashflow situation. We have a new finance director, Richard Bone – a fresh pair of eyes. The operations are now more structured; for

example, the way we do end-of-year reconciliations and the way we pay our retro payments are more beneficial to our members. Fundamentally, what we have started is a complete review of the strategy and

Youngest manager of Safeway Even before the legal age of employment, John Kinney was working at his dad’s independent shop, JP Kinney’s


August 2021

in Sparkhill, Birmingham. Although he didn’t originally intend to pursue a career in retail or wholesale, a manager at Safeway spotted his potential while he was working there temporarily as a student and invited him to go on a management training programme. Instead of returning to college to do A Levels, he took up the offer and became Safeway’s youngest store manager at that time. He stayed with Safeway for 23 years, and since then he has worked for several retail/wholesale firms including Booker (two years), Today’s (nine years) and Unitas, where he was promoted from sales & marketing director to his current post in April.

culture of the group in order to become more member-centric. In the first couple of years following the merger of Today’s and Landmark, our priority was pulling the two companies together – the systems, operations, back of house, IT platforms, service providers, etc. This is now phase two. A couple of weeks ago we had a two-day strategy session with our board to look at what the business is doing, where we want to go and how we want to get there. We are working out what things we want to maintain, what we want to ditch and what we want to do differently. Mark Aylwin [newly appointed chairman] has been a very good sounding board. It has been the right time to bring a non-member chairman into the fold to challenge the old way of thinking. What are your priorities for the rest of this year? As we move away from the demands of the Today’s/Landmark merger and dealing with COVID, I am focusing on driving that member-centric approach and member-centric culture. I would

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[ INTERVIEW ] ‘We must have honesty from suppliers’ As wholesalers struggle to get the orders they want from suppliers due to wider industry issues such as a shortage of HGV drivers, Unitas MD John Kinney has called for better communication from suppliers. “Far too often I am hearing from members that a delivery is being cancelled at short notice, or the first time they find out about cross-offs is when a vehicle arrives. This is damaging our sector; we must have honesty and transparency from suppliers. “There are some suppliers that are working hand in glove with us, managing forecasts and managing allocations fairly. However, there are some suppliers that, very frustratingly, are not sharing information with us and are not telling us how problems will be resolved. They are impacting their relationship with us in the long-term – ultimately if they are damaging a member’s business, that memory will last.”

challenge whether everything we did before was delivering member benefit. We have a plan that everybody in the centre will spend some time out in our members’ depots to understand the wholesale environment and how what they do affects our members. It is very easy to get lost in a head office culture, but this is not a head office, this is a support centre for 159 companies. For me personally, although my former sales & marketing role covered the whole group, I come from a very retailoriented background, so a priority for me has been to get up to speed with the needs and requirements of our out-ofhome members. You have members on your board and you are going out to their depots. Do you have a more formal way of finding out what they want from the group? That is something we are looking at: building a structured member survey where we can gather information (at least annually) about what our members want. We will also ask them to rate how we are performing and how well we are supporting them. 16

August 2021

We are also continuing some of the initiatives we set up during COVID, like our category committee meetings (impulse, retail, grocery & non-food, licensed, foodservice and on-trade). These are held every four weeks or so, and are a great way of getting feedback from our members. The policy introduced by Unitas last summer that members could not also be part of other buying groups led to the departure of several wholesalers. Did you agree with this policy when it was introduced, and what has been the impact of this policy? Yes, I did agree with it, and I stand by that decision. I genuinely think it strengthens the group. If we are asking suppliers to invest in the group and support activities that we run, they need to know who is running those activities and how they are being run. We wanted members to support the group, not to decide which parts they wanted to support and which parts they didn’t. The impact of the wholesalers’ departure was marginal compared to the benefits and clarity we have been able to provide to suppliers. The strength of retail versus foodservice and licensed within Unitas also led to the departure of some wholesale members, notably Hyperama’s foodservice business. How are you making your offer sufficiently attractive for foodservice and on-trade wholesalers? We have a very diverse foodservice membership base. Being able to cater for every foodservice member’s needs is a massive challenge, so it’s about finding what works for the majority.

New chairman Mark Aylwin has ‘challenged the old way of thinking’.

We are not looking at consolidation within the group in respect of going down the retail-only route: there will absolutely be a role for foodservice and on-trade going forward, and we believe there is a significant opportunity in both those areas. What we are working on now is how to maximise that opportunity. In the case of Hyperama, we weren’t able to achieve what they wanted from us [most of Hyperama’s foodservice business came from suppliers that did not have central terms with Unitas]. We are now deciding if that was a missed opportunity – we are conscious that we lost a good operator. We don’t want to lose any foodservice member but if we think it is not viable for us to do that [have more foodservice suppliers on central terms], we won’t do it because we can’t be everything to everyone. Realistically we are looking at a few months before we are able to announce whether we’re going to expand our offer or maintain the offer we have.

The departure of Hyperama’s foodservice business to a rival buying group has prompted Unitas to review its offering for out-of-home wholesalers.

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[ INTERVIEW ] Did your gesture to reduce fees by 30% for foodservice and on-trade members for 2021/22 go down well with the members concerned and will you maintain that reduction? The feedback we received was very positive and we intend to review our fees on an ongoing basis. The centre isn’t a profit centre – if we can reduce our cost base and membership fees, we will look at that for all members. You have changed the format of your trade event (30 September to 1 October at ACC Convention Centre, Liverpool) to an awards dinner and one-to-one meetings. What response have you had to this event? It has been very well received – we are virtually sold out. We couldn’t run a traditional trade show because of space constraints, but we were very conscious that face-to-face relationships between suppliers and members haven’t been there for quite a while so we were keen to get these activities going again. We will run the event next March as a trade show if we can – that is our preferred format – and we have booked our overseas conference for 16-20 September 2022 in Tenerife. Congratulations on being voted No.1 buying group in the Advantage Group survey for the second year running. How have you managed to maintain supplier relationships during the pandemic? Coming first again was a fantastic result and really does reflect the work that the trading team have put into managing their relationships with suppliers. The role for us in the early part of the pandemic was about facilitating communications from the suppliers to our members on supply issues. It then morphed into the day job, so we set up regular meetings where suppliers were able to talk to our members about their situation and their plans. What do you see as your strengths in dealing with suppliers compared to other buying groups in ‘normal’ times? Our approach with suppliers goes beyond simple transactional relationships – we go out of our way to understand their strategies and plans, and we develop joint business plans. We don’t just take a one-size-fits-all approach.

Picture Portal and Brand Box help build business for members and suppliers.

Going forward, suppliers need to be more appropriate with sector-specific plans and not just try to shoehorn in what works for the mults. We want to see suppliers respecting this channel with both their products and resource. Everyone was keen to jump on the convenience bandwagon when they saw the growth during COVID, so let’s see suppliers reflecting this in the long-term. How well is Brand Box, your initiative for suppliers to get their NPD into 1,000 stores at launch, working? It was delayed because of COVID. We launched it as we came out of lockdown but it had its challenges: lots of retailers

didn’t want us going into their stores. We have run four Brand Box campaigns so far, with two out of three stores participating [Today’s, Day-Today, Lifestyle plus KeyStore, USave and Shop Smart]. We would like it to be higher, but considering everything that has been going on with the pandemic, we are quite pleased with how it started. Fundamentally it is the right thing to do – the scheme is trying to de-risk distribution of NPD into retail outlets and make sure we do not miss the peak opportunity to feature the NPD [when suppliers are backing it with advertising and marketing activity]. Suppliers have a backlog of NPD because of COVID, and our next Brand Box campaign is scheduled for later this month when we have seven suppliers participating. We still do our scorecard in terms of NPD and indeed we are even more challenging. Just because a product has been offered doesn’t mean it is the right thing to push out to our retailers. We will turn down NPD if it is not right. We are looking at how Brand Box can be used in out-of-home outlets. What about your Picture Portal scheme – how is that going? It is going well. Picture Portal is used to capture real-time examples of promotional execution and activation across our membership. It is used to drive distribution as well as compliance. We have invested in a new platform to make Picture Portal more user-friendly – this is being built now by TWC.

The Unitas trade event in Liverpool this September will not include an exhibition but it will mean that members and suppliers can meet face to face again.

August 2021


pp.14-18 Interview Aug 21_Ivan Durkin feature 1 real 09/08/2021 11:36 Page 4

[ INTERVIEW ] Unitas: fast facts Performance (sales through wholesaler members): +9.7% including tobacco, +3.6% excluding tobacco (2020/21 versus 2019/20) Wholesaler members: 159 Split of members: 46 retail, 58 standard, 7 specialist (turnover £4.95 billion between them); 31 foodservice (£2.5 billion), 17 licensed (£750,000) . Symbol stores: 762, up by about 50 on previous year. (Today’s 267, DayToday 251, Lifestyle 244.) Club stores (participating in Unitas promotions every three weeks): 3,628, up by about 180 on previous year. Unitas staff: 53

How many members are using your Plan for Profit category management guidance? Plan for Profit is a fundamental part of what we do in retail and is growing every year. Latest audits show that our symbol stores (Today’s, Day-Today and Lifestyle) are running at 72% core range compliance and our depots at 94% compliance. As well as being about core range, we have our ‘Focus On’ guides where we look at incremental opportunities, whether in existing categories or emerging categories. The latest is on sharing confectionery. We are looking at how the principles of Plan for Profit can be adopted for out of home. It is challenging in foodservice – developing a core range in foodservice is a lot harder than in retail. We would have to break it down by customer type. A core range for a fish & chip shop would be very different from a core range for a café. How many members are taking advantage of the central services you offer? We have 127 members and 1,600 outlets actively participating. Our central services offer is gaining good traction, and I think it will be a much bigger 18

August 2021

Unitas has a good number of stores ready to join its symbol groups (Today’s, DayToday and Lifestyle) and continues to support members in developing these brands.

opportunity as we go forward because retailers and wholesalers are facing increasing costs. We have a new controller, Fergus Dodds, to bolster our drop shipment providers, and Steve Hodson looks after the services. We have obviously targeted the big areas of impact – waste disposal, EPoS, energy, etc – so we are looking at the tiers below that. There are still plenty of services to go after. What are your plans regarding the development of your own-brands? We still see a role for own-label but it is a relatively small role. Our focus is, and

The ‘Focus On’ guides have enhanced the Plan for Profit proposition.

will continue to be, on brands but we recognise that there is a need for a value proposition to complement those brands. We have a relationship with Morrisons to make a limited range of the Safeway branded products available to our members – they are used where we have gaps in our range. We will be looking at foodservice own-brand as part of our review. Are there plans to develop Today’s, Day-Today and Lifestyle in light of progress (new fascias and formats) elsewhere in the market place? Our members are actively developing these brands and we will continue to support them in driving them. The retailer relationship is with the wholesaler, not our central office. COVID did delay a lot of store developments. We have a good number of stores ready to join our symbol groups but they are being pushed back because we are still struggling to source some shelving and refrigeration. Meanwhile, retailers who were buoyant through COVID are reinvesting in their stores, which is a good sign. How are you finding your role as MD? I am really enjoying it. The opportunity that I can see ahead and the strategic review I am undertaking mean it is an exciting time for Unitas. There are a lot of challenges coming out of COVID, but I am very optimistic. The group is in a CCM good position going forward.

p.19 Spotlight Aug 21_Ivan Durkin feature 1 real 09/08/2021 12:13 Page 1

[ SPOTLIGHT ] Helen Bradshaw, sales & marketing director, Hancocks How would you describe your personality and what approach do you take in business (and in life)? I am definitely a people person and love to create high-performing teams. Identifying strengths within people in a team and leveraging them is crucial. What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it? I found my first few director level roles challenging. I discovered that the higher up you go there are certainly more politics, some personal agendas, and very experienced people having very different opinions. Navigating around all that was tough at first. I decided at that point to have some coaching, which has just been brilliant at helping me.

‘A great balance’ What have been your biggest achievements in work and outside work? Being successful in a breadth of roles and reaching senior positions across sales, marketing, category management and consumer and shopper insights have been my biggest career achievements. This has given me a great balance when developing brand and business propositions as I fully understand the challenges of execution in a competitive world and I always put consumer and customer insight at the heart of any project. Outside of work I am most proud of juggling a fun and hectic family life with my career. Who has been the biggest inspiration to you? I was fortunate to work for some brilliant managers early on in my career at Cadbury and their leadership styles have stuck with me today. More recently I have had some fantastic coaching from Nic Crisp, a truly inspirational coach – and most days I challenge myself to think, ‘how would she approach this?’ I was also inspired by my grandma from a very young age. She was an amazing people person and was always brilliant at seeing the best in everyone.

What were your ambitions when you were growing up? Throughout my teenage years I worked in restaurants, and this really helped my confidence when I got my first full-time role. I have never been ‘exceptional’ at one thing. This meant I didn’t know what to specialise in. I started my career in sales, but quickly developed a massive interest in data and category insight and then became passionate about marketing teams needing to put insight at the heart of everything they did. This fired me up to want to drive a step change in marketing. What are your interests outside work and how do you maintain a work-life balance? My husband and children keep me very busy and grounded in what’s important, and with our recent addition to the family, our gorgeous Cockapoo Saxon, it means life has just got that bit busier! We are always thinking about or planning our next family holiday or travel adventure, and I love it when weekends are full of meeting up with friends and family. The children play golf and football, so weekends are usually busy with ferrying the kids around to their activities.

What is your favourite film, book and song/piece of music? For me, films, books and music are all about unwinding and providing escapism from a busy day. My current favourite film is The Gentlemen. Through lockdown I think I watched it CCM about 20 times!

Sweet progress While at the University of Central Lancashire studying French, Helen Bradshaw also worked as an English assistant in France, a tour guide around Paris, a Eurocamp rep and a waitress at Center Parcs. When she graduated, she joined Cadbury as a merchandiser/van salesperson. She worked her way up through various sales roles during her nine years with the business, and then left to work for Thorntons for eight years, initially in sales and later as head of marketing. She moved to Samworth Brothers (sandwiches and salads business unit) as head of insight but after two years returned to confectionery – joining the IB Group as marketing director in 2018. Last year, she was appointed to her current role, sales & marketing director.

August 2021


p.20-22 Supplier Strategy Aug 21_Ivan Durkin feature 1 real 09/08/2021 10:18 Page 1


‘We champion wholesale’ Matt Collins (pictured), trading director at KP Snacks, explains how the supplier supports the trade by acting on insight to respond to, and influence, shopper habits.


he amount of business that KP Snacks conducts with cash & carries and delivered wholesalers has increased over the last five years, and there’s more growth to come, according to trading director Matt Collins. “We are very passionate about wholesale – we champion it – and we think it remains a real growth channel,” he says. “At KP, we are not a grocery-led business, we are a multi-channel-led business,” he adds. “We recognise the differences within wholesale, from national wholesale to independent wholesale, and from wholesalers supplying retail to those supplying catering, foodservice and the on-trade. “I’m lucky to have an experienced and dedicated wholesale team that really understands the channel and my role is to support them and to represent the channel internally, making sure it gets a good share of voice in our business.” When the COVID crisis began, KP’s employees, including its field sales

Recipe for success KP has a four-pillar plan to make the most of the crisps, snacks, nuts and popcorn segments: a More from core – focusing on the best-sellers that consumers want day in, day out. a Sprinkle of NPD – bringing out NPD that is going to add excitement and incremental sales, and be ontrend, sustainable, heavily supported, in the right format and the right case size. a Events and activation – maximising events, bringing excitement to store, and driving weight of purchase, such as by ‘perfect pairings’ – KP Nuts with beer or McCoy’s with a soft drink in a meal deal. a Insight-led – understanding market trends, data, insight, shopper habits and consumer habits.

team, moved to home working straight away, but this was not detrimental to its dealings with wholesalers; in fact, the opposite was true. “I think that having virtual meetings actually strengthened our relationships with wholesalers,” says Collins, who has been with KP for more than seven years. “Everybody got to see people in their homes – we became a bit more aware of each other’s lives – and at the height of the crisis there was an opportunity to show that partnerships really mattered. We were able to collaborate even better than before.” Although KP did make minor adjustments to its range to focus on the bestsellers, it kept its supply chain going “really well” by optimising output, Collins reports. “We heard a lot of stories in the trade about deprioritisation of channels in terms of production and stock allocation, but any choices we

made at KP were completely equitable across the market. “We maintained our excellent service and availability throughout – there was no change to minimum order or consolidation of orders – and that continues today, even with the shortage of HGV drivers in the UK.” When Collins spoke to Cash & Carry Management (mid-July), third-party agency Avansa, which works in wholesale depots on KP’s behalf to showcase deals, loyalty schemes and new products, was already back in the field. KP is well aware of changes in consumer shopping habits precipitated by the pandemic, such as the increase in demand for sharing packs and multipacks, and it uses data and insight to guide its business and the advice it gives to its customers. It also meets with a panel of convenience retailers (both symbol group and unaffiliated) to discuss market developments though its Ambassadors Forum, which is part of its SnacKPartners category management programme. Feedback from the retailers can influence KP’s plans. Collins says: “We recognise that convenience retailers don’t have rubber walls and that space is at a premium. It is about making sure the right space is allocated to the right range. “Ultimately the pack format comes down to the occasion and the mission. Whether it’s multipacks, sharing packs or singles, the space should be adjusted according to what the pick-up is. We want to help convenience retailers retain the bigger basket and top-up shop they gained during the pandemic.”

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August 2021




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The ‘Win £2021’ promotion is designed to help retailers recover sales of singles.

Over the past year, KP has seen surges in sales of many of its products, including KP Nuts and Butterkist, as well as £1 price-marked packs, and the company has recently expanded its Tyrrells range with £1 PMPs for three core flavours. “The results after only two weeks in the market are phenomenal!” Collins reports. The launch of the Tyrrells £1 PMPs follows the successful introduction of the same format for Discos Salt & Vinegar and its “golden piece of innovation” for this year, McCoy’s Fire Pit, which has achieved sales of £3.2 million since launch (Nielsen) and is also available as £1 PMPs. “When we bring out NPD, it is important that we do so in the right formats for the right channel,” says Collins. “We know that PMPs work really well in convenience – they reassure consumers of value and help retailers with the pricing. Equally, we have to make sure that there is the ability for everyone to make a competitive margin.” To support retailers in recovering and driving their sales of singles, KP recently launched a ‘Win £2021’ promotion on Hula Hoops, McCoy’s, Skips, Nik Naks, Discos, and Wheat Crunchies in grab bags and £1 PMPs. Running until 12 November, it offers shoppers the chance to ‘win the year in cash’. Collins points out that in the last 12 weeks, singles have grown by 37.8%. “We are seeing the single-eat occasion coming back as people are more transient, more mobile, but it is still down compared to 2019 – indexing at 80-82% versus 2019. However, because food to go was a hero category to drive footfall and rate of purchase, our view is that it will probably be back to 2019 levels by September/October,” he says. As far as NPD is concerned, Collins believes it should meet certain criteria: “NPD in this category, as in any impulse category, plays a pivotal role but it’s 22

August 2021

about the right NPD – it’s not about bringing out ’me too’ products or proliferation, it’s about adding excitement.” He continues: “The best way to win in the crisps, snacks, nuts and popcorn category is to make sure there is availability of the core range. The challenge then – with NPD, limited editions, etc – is to add value, not complexity. It is about understanding what consumers want and what customers want, and how we can best serve them.” One important issue for KP is the HFSS (High in Fat, Sugar or Salt) legislation, which is expected to take effect in April 2022. “We have already been working towards it as part of our ‘Taste for Good’ strategy – it was one of the reasons for acquiring the Popchips brand, and we are working on some of our other products to offer a range of lines below 100 calories,” says Collins. KP is waiting for feedback from the HFSS consultation and is considering how to embrace the legislation. “Part of that will be about reformulating existing

products, part of that will be about innovating,” he explains. “Equally there will be a big chunk of the portfolio that isn’t right to become HFSS compliant because it delivers through taste characteristics that consumers don’t want us to change.” Aside from HFSS-triggered developments, KP has plenty of activity in the pipeline, including a Tyrrells on-pack promotion starting in September to support the Licensed Trade Charity, which helps people in need who work in pubs, bars and breweries. The promotion will run on a number of Tyrrells 40g flavours that are popular in the on-trade. Tyrrells is one of eight brands that are currently promoting KP’s sponsorship of The Hundred, a new 100-ball cricket competition. Over the next five years, this partnership is aimed at inspiring people to get more active, while driving sales of KP’s core range. Moving into the autumn, the supplier will be supporting Butterkist with an onpack promotion that will add value to the family sharing occasion, and there will activity around the back to school occasion and Christmas. In addition, KP will continue to run bespoke promotions with individual wholesalers. Collins concludes: “Without our trade partners we can’t win. Wholesale is a dynamic and exciting channel and it is incredibly valuable to us. It will continue to form an important part of our CCM strategy and plans.”

pp.23-24 Back To School Aug 21_Ivan Durkin feature 1 real 09/08/2021 11:43 Page 1


Thirst for knowledge Health and sustainability concerns are driving much of the NPD and promotional activity during this year’s ‘back to school and college’ season. Kevin Whitlock reports.


his time last year, thanks to the pandemic that has dominated life and business for what by now seems like a lifetime, we were all fretting about whether there would actually be a ‘back to school’ season, or any freshers’ weeks. Now, in 2021, things are looking much more certain – if still not quite 100% – and suppliers have been gearing up to what could be a bumper season. And it seems that as we hopefully move out of the pandemic era, health concerns seem uppermost in manufacturers’ minds. “As campus sites start to reopen again, hygiene and personal safety remain top priorities for all operators,” says Michelle Jee, Tetley senior brand manager – out of home at Tata Consumer Products. “With the launch of Tetley’s improved envelope range (individuallysealed for food safety, freshness and convenience), there’s a fast and hassle-free solution, with minimal product handling, supporting operators in prioritising hygiene and customer safety, making it easier for self-serve when over-the-counter or table service is limited.” Now available in 100% recyclable packaging, the range features fully compostable plastic-free tea bags. Of course, students don’t just drink tea. Booze is part of the ‘uni experience’ for many, and brands are keen to recruit new over-18 drinkers. Rum brand Havana Club from Pernod Ricard is this year again teaming up with grime/hip-hop artist Skepta for another limitededition Havana Club 7 bottle. Further support comes in the shape of an outof-home and digital campaign running this month and a range of PoS materials. Rum is the second fastest-growing spirits category, and Havana Club is experiencing 64.9% value growth in the off-trade (Nielsen), whilst Havana Club 7 is growing by 228% in impulse stores year on year. It should be remembered that young people are these days much more aware of what they are drinking and how much, points out Toby Lancaster, category & shopper marketing director at Heineken UK. “The younger generation are increasingly looking for ways to moderate their drinking and live healthier lifestyles,” he says. “This provides an opportunity by stocking a range of products that suit an alcohol-free or healthier lifestyle, such as Heineken 0.0 or Inch’s, a vegan and sustainable offering.”

Also hugely popular with students are energy drinks. CCEP is one of many manufacturers keen to tap into freshers’ need for a functional pick-me-up. The company has just expanded its Reign Total Body Fuel range of performance energy drinks with the launch of two new variants – Peach Fizz and Orange Dreamsicle – in plain and price-marked packs. Each contains 200mg of natural caffeine. Reign is being supported by event and venue sponsorships as well as sponsored digital content and in-store PoS materials featuring global and local fitness influencers. Britvic is investing too, extending its Rockstar line-up with the launch of Rockstar Original No Sugar for the convenience channel, available in a £1.19 price-marked 500ml format (a non-PMP and four-pack will be added in October). Phil Sanders, out-of-home commercial director at Britvic, comments: “Value is a key priority for shoppers in the current climate. The PMP format was developed with the convenience channel in mind, to support independent retailers in clearly demonstrating everyday value to their customers, helping to encourage purchase.” Market leader Red Bull is also gearing up. In March it launched its latest variant – Cactus Fruit – and also started offering four-packs to tap into a demand for larger pack sizes. Red Bull is also encouraging consumers to unleash their inner footballer with its latest campaign, Red Bull Pro, which features Liverpool FC and England footballer Trent Alexander-Arnold, running across most pack sizes. Barr Soft Drinks, maker of that other student favourite, Irn-Bru, is investing £6 million in the brand with a TV, social and digital campaign which aims to differentiate Irn-Bru from other carbonates, as well as reaching 90% of 16-34 year olds in Scotland and the North of England. Concerns over healthy eating and drinking are an even greater priority for parents of school-age children than they are for students. Adrian Hipkiss, marketing & international business director at Rio, which is now available through Boost Drinks, comments: “With lockdown restrictions easing and the start of a new academic year approaching – both for schools, colleges and universities – we can expect consumers of all ages to seek new experiences, and this definitely applies to students seeking out new drinks and flavours.

August 2021


pp.23-24 Back To School Aug 21_Ivan Durkin feature 1 real 09/08/2021 11:48 Page 2

[ BACK TO SCHOOL/FRESHERS ] “Tropical flavours are currently in high demand, with tropical being the fastest growing flavour in the soft drinks category (IRI). With 10% real fruit and juice in lightly sparking spring water, Rio is extremely attractive for parents picking out products for their kids as it is a great source of Vitamin C, ideal for keeping kids focused at school,” says Hipkiss. A marketing campaign to drive flavour awareness and encourage purchase is currently backing Rio, and a trade plan includes sampling in depots. Flavoured milks are a perennial favourite of both kids and older students, and this market is worth over £382 million (IRI), with FrieslandCampina’s Yazoo the market leader. Dan Chesbrough, business unit controller, grocery, says: “Yazoo KiDS has a unique no added sugar or artificial sweeteners recipe and is the fastest growing no-added-sugar milk drink (excluding coffee, IRI) on the market; certainly, it’s one to stock for back to school.” Containing only 96 calories, Yazoo KiDS Strawberry and Banana No Added Sugar come in 200ml bottles and are ambient. They are schools approved and CQUIN compliant, which is important to parents. The brand has partnered with Universal’s Minions movie franchise to create a collectable range with the five main Minions on-pack. Snacks are another vital component of the school lunchbox, according to Matt Collins, trading director of KP Snacks. “Wholesalers should ensure their retailers have stocked the appropriate range to prepare for and capitalise on the back to school opportunity,” he says. “Tapping into the demand for bagged snacks is essential – two in five kids’ lunchboxes contain a bagged snack (Kantar). However, parents will also be more conscious than ever of the quality of the snacks they are purchasing.” The KP Snacks portfolio now includes 32 products that are 100 calories or fewer per pack including POM-BEAR, Hula Hoops Puft, Skips, Popchips and Space Raiders. For parents looking to give kids a school lunchbox treat, Ferrero has launched a new hazelnut and milk chocolate biscuit bar, Duplo (which has been popular in Germany for almost 60 years), with just 100 kcals per unit. Levi Boorer, customer development director, comments: “The initial positive consumer response already shows a strong opportunity for retailers to shake up their chocolate biscuit fixture with this new launch.” Burton’s Biscuit Company is continuing to promote a healthy lifestyle with the return of its ‘Minis Get Moving’ on-pack promotion. Running until 23 September, the promotion offers instant-win prizes across the Maryland Minis and Jammie Dodgers minis portfolio of 24

August 2021

99 calorie snacks. Every promotional pack includes a ‘Kids Go Free’ voucher, valid against sports and leisure activities. Snacks and bakery are sure-fire hits for the back to school lunchbox. Scott Oakes, commercial manager of St Pierre Groupe (which includes the St Pierre and Baker Street brands), comments: “Back to school is the third biggest retail period in the year after Christmas and Black Friday, worth over £1.16 billion (Mintel). Sandwiches will always be an important part of the back to school category; the same figures from Mintel show that white bread is still dominant but it’s also worth noting the continued rise of rolls and baguettes.” Charlotte Hulbert, retail sales manager at Brioche Pasquier, points out that everyone has become more aware of the need to be hygienic, and a lunchbox filled with items carefully prepared at home is reassuring for parents and children. “Items like our PITCH chocolate brioche are individually packaged so are ideal as a treat with lunch or as an after-school or sport snack,” she adds. The company is currently giving consumers the chance to win a family holiday and Minions goodies in an on-pack promotion. Of course, back to school isn’t just about lunchboxes. For many people, preparing something quick and nutritious for the kids when they get home can be challenging. “Back to school is a busy time for every family,” says Gill Riley, marketing director at Quorn Foods UK. “That’s why we’re advising cash & carries to stock up on our best-selling frozen products including Quorn Crispy Nuggets, Mince and Sausages, which all have ‘Netmums Recommends’ status.” Meanwhile, Radnor, which sells more than 55 million units to UK schools every year, has made the Anti-Bullying Alliance its charity of the year. The company is making a donation and encouraging its staff to fundraise during the year-long partnership. Radnor will also be taking part in AntiBullying Week’s ‘One Kind Word’ between 15-19 November CCM which is expected to involve 80% of schools.

For further information: Barr Soft Drinks (01204) 664200 Boost Drinks (0113) 240 3666 Brioche Pasquier (01908) 266700 Britvic (0345) 758 1781 Burton’s Biscuit Company (01727) 899700 CCEP (0808) 1000 000 Ferrero 020-8869 4000 FrieslandCampina (01403) 273273 Heineken 0131-528 1000 KP Snacks (0845) 601 7583 Quorn Foods (01642) 710803 Pernod Ricard 020-8538 4000 Radnor (01547) 530220 Red Bull (0203) 117 2000 St Pierre Groupe 0161-946 1355 Tata Consumer Products 020-8338 4000

pp.26-32 Big Night In Aug 21_Ivan Durkin feature 1 real 09/08/2021 10:22 Page 1


Are you in or out? Restrictions may be lifted but consumers are still guarding their space and their income, so the big night in remains a prime opportunity for savvy retailers. Siobhan Kielty reports.


ince lockdown was first imposed on the nation, families, couples and single households have found a way to add some joy and colour with a big night in. Now that socialising is permitted, shoppers are still eager to carry these occasions forward, and the convenience store is the perfect place to stock up. Mars Wrigley has brands synonymous with the big night in occasion, such as M&M’s and Maltesers. These have brought incremental sales by tapping into flavour trends that resonate with big night in shoppers. With M&M’s, a Crunchy Caramel variant has been added to a block range that includes Chocolate, Crispy, Hazelnut and Peanut. “There is a long-time association between M&M’s and entertainment, and this connection to a big night in has helped the brand grow,” says Jo Sinisgalli, senior brand manager for gifting. Mint Maltesers Buttons attracted millennial shoppers to the brand and have been instrumental in Maltesers’ highest ever penetration of 61.9% (Nielsen). “With bitesize the fastestgrowing segment in chocolate, we expect these products to continue to be a key trend as they offer an easy-to-share chocolate experience,” adds Sinisgalli. “Mint flavour products have rapidly grown and by coupling this flavour with the fastest-growing Mars Wrigley UK brand, the bitesize treat aims to drive new consumers to the segment.” The manufacturer has also expanded its sharing sugar confectionery portfolio, launching the on-trend Skittles Giant Crazy Sours in three sharing formats: £1 PMP 125g treat bag, 141g value pouch and 170g grocery pouch. “As sharing moments continue to rise, both at home and for seasonal occasions, Mars Wrigley UK has ensured it’s meeting the needs of consumers and retailers alike by introducing innovation in the sharing format,” says Sinisgalli. “Availability is everything. As consumer behaviour evolves it brings new shoppers and new purchase occasions to every category.” Mondelez has also seen a consumer interest in sugar confectionery, recording growth of its Maynard Bassetts Wine Gums, Jelly Babies and Liquorice Allsorts. The brand’s heritage is celebrated in a redesign that features an updated logo and look as part of the ‘Set the Juice Loose’ activity. “We support our brands throughout the year with a raft of creative and impactful marketing campaigns as well as significant in-store activity to help reach consumers at every touchpoint,” says Susan Nash, trade communications manager. “52% of all confectionery occasions take place with other people present so having a range of sharing formats is key to maximising the opportunity.” 26

August 2021

Sharing bars of the new Cadbury Caramilk are expected to be a driver of big night in sales as shoppers look for new experiences. The golden blend of caramelised white chocolate brings something new to the chocolate category and a PMP format boosts shoppers’ trust in convenience pricing. From the Dairy Milk brand, four bars created by this year’s Cadbury Inventor finalists are bringing excitement not only through innovative flavours but also by enabling consumer interaction. “The limited-edition range is supported by a campaign encouraging shoppers to ‘be the judge’ and choose their favourite to become a permanent line,” explains Nash. As the prevalence of home entertaining increases, fixtures need to be considered accordingly. Mars Ice Cream has recorded year-on-year sales growth of 15.4% (IRI) and wrapped handheld products are the star performers. For big night in, tub formats are also important and well-loved brands Mars, Snickers and Maltesers should be retailer must-stocks. “We know that our popular brands attract consumers to the freezer and generate a strong rate of sale, owing to brand recognition,” says Michelle Frost, general manager. General Mills saw sales of its Häagen-Dazs luxury tubs flourish beyond the summer season as take-home formats for big night in drove shopper purchasing during lockdown. “Since COVID-19, the brand has acquired 750,000 new buyers with a total 19.7% household penetration,” says Kat Jones, marketing manager.

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[ BIG NIGHT IN ] “The Häagen-Dazs portfolio is multi-functional. Our tubs tap in to the sharing at-home occasion while the mini cups provide individual portion sizes ideal for treat occasion opportunities while also catering to the mindful consumption trend.” The consumer demand for lower-sugar products is now integral to the confectionery and snacking categories, as shoppers look to indulge in a healthier manner. Gullón, a Spanish manufacturer, entered the UK market with this in mind. Its Zeroh! brand includes a range of sugar-free biscuits formulated to satisfy the need for indulgence in a healthier treat. To increase brand awareness, the supplier is running a PR campaign alongside a consumer social media campaign. In savoury snacking, the number of big night in occasions has been instrumental in 3.6% growth in the category (IRI). Sharing products have been growth drivers, with £1 PMP snacks growing three times faster than the market. “COVID accelerated the shift away from impulse packs, with 24% of consumers buying more sharing packs than a year ago as every night became a big night in,” says Matt Smith, marketing director at Tayto.

‘Not everyone will choose to rush back to the pub as many have a new-found preference for staying at home’ Matt Smith, marketing director, Tayto People have spent time and effort maximising enjoyment at home and this socialising is expected to remain popular. “Not everyone will choose to rush back to the pub as many have a new-found preference for staying at home, where the ‘home bar’ or ‘garden bar’ has come into its own,” he adds. The dynamics of the savoury snack market will shift as we emerge from lockdown, with impulse pack sales likely to pick up as people are out and about more. However, the popularity of sharing snacks – and £1 PMPs in particular – will persist as we are able to socialise more. Wholesalers need to cater for this by ensuring that they have a savoury snacks range that covers the key price points.

Smith identifies areas that deserve retailer focus such as entry point (demonstrating value for money and including money-saving promotions such as Golden Wonder’s ‘2 for 50p’ on-pack promotion), impulse (providing a core range for on-the-go occasions) and £1 sharing. To encourage summer sharing sales, Tayto’s activity has included the launch of the limited-edition Ringo Katsu Curry ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and, earlier in the year, the launch of Spicy Bikers from Golden Wonder as a £1 PMP. 28

August 2021

Mr Porky is the No.1 brand (IRI) in pork scratchings.

“We continue to promote the launch with digital support, including opportunities to win bikes, and activity exclusively for independent retailers, including money-off vouchers,” says Smith. “While clearly the pandemic has made its mark on savoury snacks in terms of what consumers buy and where they buy it, the long-term trends of taste and value persist.” At PepsiCo, the same consumer behaviour is predicted for this year in the current climate. “We expect ‘big night in’ to turn into the ‘big night outside’,” says Guy Harvey, impulse category management controller. “Shoppers will want to invite small groups to their gardens, recreating events such as the outdoor cinema with another household. As such, we believe larger pack formats will continue to play a key part.” The supplier has introduced price flashes on multipacks of Walkers Classic Variety and Quavers Cheese, while sharing bags of Doritos and Walkers Sensations now contain 20g more and have a £2 price mark for the Doritos Chilli Heatwave, Doritos Tangy Cheese and Walkers Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli variants. KP Snacks highlights the importance for retailers of maximising big night in opportunities by staying abreast of current trends and promotions, and considering their range accordingly. “Stocking the right range is crucial to making the most of the big night in occasion, but it’s equally important to have the right promotions and displays in place to entice the shopper,” says Matt Collins, trading director. It’s not just snacking that has had a boost over the past year – the big night in has also seen a surge in creative cooking. Money concerns and a desire for family activities have led to the rise of the ‘fakeaway’ as part of the occasion. As tastes get bolder and shoppers look to alleviate boredom with food and in-home entertainment, ready-made sauces, seasonings and condiments are seeing increasing demand. “Scratch cooking is on the rise, with 406 million more meal occasions in-home (Kantar),” says Fikerte Woldegiorgis, foods marketing director at Unilever UK&I. “People are looking for variety and flavour in their dishes, and condiments can play a vital role in elevating everyday meals and enhancing big night in experiences.”

August 2021


GB Wholesale Director at Britvic

Robinsons is the UK’s leading squash brand 1 and accounts for over half (50.5%) of all squash sales in convenience 2. The Robinsons range has something for everyone, including Family Favourites, Fruit Creations, Fruit Cordials, Barley Water, Robinsons Minis and recently relaunched Robinsons Ready to Drink. There are an increasing number of customers out and about looking for a wide choice of soft drinks solutions on-the go, in addition for drinks to enjoy at home at barbecues and family gatherings. Robinsons has the perfect combination of products available to meet this consumer need.

Robinsons Ready to Drink

TOP TIPS FOR WHOLESALERS • Highlight NPD – Make sure new soft drinks stand out with additional point of sale around the depot to point retailers in the right direction. Include POS to highlight the fact that it is a new addition • Offer value – PMPs are a key sales driver and need to be available next to regularly priced soft drinks to ensure that retailers have a clear choice when it comes to selecting the right mix for their stores

This summer, Robinsons has relaunched Refresh’d to Robinsons ‘Ready to Drink’ in two great tasting flavours – Raspberry & Apple and Peach & Mango. It sports a brand-new look while delivering full taste with real fruit in every drop but with no added sugar, providing consumers with a refreshing and hydrating drink without compromise - as 50% of the population actively look to reduce their sugar intake3. Robinsons has grown by +13.5% in the past year, equivalent to £24.8m in additional sales value 4. As more people have been working and studying at home, the brand has benefitted from 125 million additional in-home lunch occasions, growing by +56% year on year 5.

Let There Be Fruit Robinsons has launched a £6.4m campaign, with TV, radio, digital, out of home and in-store activation. Bringing the great taste and real fruit message of the brand to life, the campaign encourages shoppers to liven up their tap water.

1. Nielsen IQ Retail Measurement Service, Value Sales, Total Coverage, Total Dilutes (Britvic defined), 52 we 13 June 21 2. IRI Convenience, Squash, Value Sales, 52 wks to 23.05.2021 3. IGD ShopperVista Where do shoppers stand with sugar in 2020? Report, June 2020 4. Nielsen IQ Retail Measurement Service, Total Coverage, Total Robinsons, Value Sales abs chg (£) and % Chg, 52 we to 20 Feb 21 5. Nielseniq RMS, Total coverage GB, Value % Chg, 52 w/e to 20th February 2021

The ‘Let There Be Fruit’ campaign will run through to September 2021, uniting the full Robinsons portfolio, including Robinsons Squash, recently relaunched Minis and wwFruit Creations. The TV support sees Robinsons squash back on screens for the first time in four years. Three versions of the advert look at the day-to-day routines of people and the situations they encounter, from gardening and exercising, to simply having a glass of water.

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[ BIG NIGHT IN ] By ensuring that they are stocking interesting and ontrend options, convenience retailers can entice shoppers to increase basket spend and stay local for their big night in shop. The same trend is behind a recent sales surge in the Old El Paso brand from General Mills. “Through scratch cooking world cuisine, consumers can see savings of up to £570 per year (World Foods U&A GCI). Even with the return of hospitality, research shows we’re likely to continue creating new and different experiences at home,” says Jose Alves, senior brand manager. “In lieu of physical holidaying, the travel by food trend will also continue; this is a space Old El Paso plays really well in.” The brand’s Mexican portfolio has been strengthened by a growth in component purchasing alongside the traditional kits. “Our vegan Smokey BBQ Fajita Kit is the best-selling SKU across total world foods and joins the Cheesy Baked Enchilada Kit and Regular Tortillas eight-pack as three of the top 15 SKUs within the entire category,” he says. Meanwhile, the frozen category is also a way for retailers to offer their customers a ‘fakeaway’ experience as part of the big night in. Pizza is a reliable option for this occasion and Birds Eye’s Goodfella’s brand now features updated branding and convenience-friendly PMP formats. “Frozen pizza is a home luxury that shoppers are continuing to by into within the convenience channel, with penetration growth of 24.8% year on year,” says Joss Bamber, commercial manager.

6.5% versus last year (Nielsen). Sugar-free choices are of particular importance in the cola segment, having grown 15.2% in the last two years,” says Patefield. “The pandemic has accelerated health trends, with the value of low-calorie drinks up 7.7% in total soft drinks (IRI). Sugar is a key consideration of shoppers, with 50% of the population actively reducing their sugar intake. It is clearly vital to cater to those looking for low and no sugar alternatives of the core range.”

‘High expectations that were previously focused on dining out have moved to include those times at home too’ Ian Patefield, GB wholesale and independents outlets director, Britvic CCEP echoes this focus with its advice for soft drinks ranging. “Adult soft drinks like Appletiser can offer a sophisticated non-alcoholic option. It contains no added sugar, so is particularly appealing to health-conscious consumers,” says Amy Burgess, senior trade communications manager. “Meanwhile, our zero-sugar flavoured carbonates are worth more than £100 million, highlighting the popularity of brands like Fanta Zero.”

At-home drinks opportunities Recreating dining out experiences through a big night in occasion has also led to a change in shopper behaviour in the soft drinks category. While value is still key, consumers are also seeking quality to compensate for missed nights out in pubs and restaurants, and will prioritise premium, advises Britvic. “High expectations that were previously focused on dining out have moved to include those times at home too,” says Ian Patefield, GB wholesale and independent outlets director. “Wholesalers can capitalise on this – encouraging mocktail and cocktail solutions, for example, can help shoppers deliver indulgent serves at home and can drive value in the category: 51% of shoppers are more likely to pay more for a better quality drink.” In line with this consumer interest in mixers and soft drinks, Britvic introduced Britvic Tonic Water in 850ml in both light and regular variants, and has launched Pepsi Max Lime to independent retailers this month. Available in two-litre and 1.25-litre bottles and multipack cans, this latest NPD capitalises on the growing popularity of flavoured cola. “Cola is the number one segment within the soft drinks category, with flavoured cola up 30

August 2021

The manufacturer has invested in promotional activity for its Sprite brand this summer, targeting Generation Z consumers. The multi-million-pound ‘Let’s Be Clear’ campaign, which was launched last month, picks up on further consumer concerns by ‘encouraging young adults to reset and refresh during key moments of the day’, with the aim being to take ownership of the at-home chill-out occasion. Global TV advertising is supported by digital and social media content along with out-of-home and print activity. More flavoured carbonates activity comes from Barr Soft Drinks, which launched a range of limited-edition flavours to boost summer sales. Sour Berry and Sour Apple variants are available in 79p price-marked 500ml PET bottles, with impactful PoS materials supporting the launch. Suntory Beverage and Food GB&I has two summer campaigns to raise brand awareness for recent launches. Ribena’s Sparkling range is being supported by a £2.4 million marketing campaign, while Lucozade Zero is being backed by a £2.5 million campaign, including radio advertising,

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[ BIG NIGHT IN ] national out-of-home coverage and social media. This follows brand activity that incorporated a packaging refresh and the launch of the Lucozade Zero Tropical variant earlier in the year. A new format in the Lucozade Energy range caters specifically to the in-home drinking occasions. The 1.45-litre £2 PMP is now available to answer the rising demand for take-home formats in the convenience channel: ”We’d advise cash & carries to pay close attention to the needs of their customers and adapt their soft drinks range accordingly, remembering that big night in is likely to remain a key sales opportunity throughout the year,” says Matt Gouldsmith, channel director. Yahoo owner FrieslandCampina also attributes the growth of take-home formats to consumer desire to shop less frequently. Therefore, ambient products and larger formats are growing in appeal, while trusted brands drive sales. “Shoppers are likely to try new variants and formats from brands they already know and trust,” says Dan Chesbrough, business unit controller, grocery. “Dedicate space to both best-selling flavours and new launches from reliable brands.” Accolade Wines agrees with this approach, having seen encouraging sales from its core brands boosted by a range of promotions. “While it has been an unpredictable year for the alcohol sector in the on-trade, the off-trade sector has been bolstered by more in-home occasions. What is clear is that brands remain important and are key to attracting people to the category, offering familiarity and trust,” says Tom Smith, marketing director – Europe. Smith predicts that the no/low alcohol category will continue its ascent in the convenience sector as new innovations join the segment. “Blurring alcohol categories are becoming more popular and hard seltzers will likely witness the highest growth rate within the UK’s RTD category over the next five years,” he says. Last year’s launch of Echo Falls Rosé Seltzers was intended for consumers looking to moderate their alcohol consumption, while growth in single-serve formats supports the view that consumers are considering health, moderation and sustainability. “For the convenience sector, minis will help retailers to cater to single person ‘just for tonight’ occasions,” he adds. Current promotional activity from the supplier includes a summer activation from Kumala in partnership with barbecue manufacturer Napoleon Grills and the return of the ‘Win Your Jam’ competition from Jam Shed. From the £120 million Echo Falls brand is a ‘Luxury Pamper Night In’ promotion that runs until October. The competition to win one of 500 luxury pamper hampers will feature on nearly three million neck-tags and is flagged on outer case stickers in wholesale to drive retailer awareness. The campaign is supported by in-store retailer PoS materials and displays, along with a social and influencer campaign. Sicilian wine brand Purato, available from North South Wines, is also running a summer campaign to upgrade the big night in. The supplier’s range is organic, vegan-friendly 32

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and carbon neutral, and the competition is featured on ecofriendly neck collars. Running in partnership with artisanal pasta company La Tua Pasta, the promotion offers consumers the chance to win at-home dining kits and Purato wine. Diageo has identified the last-minute ‘meal tonight’ occasion as a prime opportunity for convenience retailers to make high-value sales by considered merchandising. “To fully cater for this trend, it is worth considering food and drinks pairings that will support retailers in providing customers with the ingredients to create the perfect night in,” says Hannah Dawson, head of category development, off-trade. In the spirits sector, no/low alcohol options are providing a promising growth opportunity. Gordon’s 0.0%, launched last December, has been joined by Tanqueray 0.0% to encourage people to trade up as social events cater for non-drinkers. From Aston Manor Cider comes a new format and design for its sparkling Chardolini brand. Chosen as a lower abv alternative to wine for celebrations, the perry is a popular drink for big night in occasions. The lineup now includes a 250ml single-serve can in the convenience sector. “Alongside valuing convenience, consumers have also focused on their drink experience at home, which is something the big night in taps into,” says Calli O’Brien, marketing controller. “From trying new flavours of loved cider, such as Crumpton Oaks Cherry & Berry or Dark Fruit, through to branching out from wine into perry with our Chardolini, consumers welcome the CCM chance to try something new at home.”

For further information: Accolade Wines (01932) 428600 Aston Manor Cider 0121-328 4336 Barr Soft Drinks (01204) 664200 Birds Eye 020-8918 3200 Britvic (0345) 758 1781 CCEP (0808) 1000 000 Diageo 020-8978 6000 FrieslandCampina (01403) 273273 General Mills (01895) 201100 Gullón (07960) 247962 KP Snacks (0845) 601 7583 Mars Ice Cream (01452) 378500 Mars Wrigley (01753) 550055 Mondelez International (01214) 582000 North South Wines 020-3871 9210 PepsiCo (0118) 930 6666 Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I 020-7327 2420 Tayto 028-3884 0249 Unilever 020-8439 6000


Mr Porky is the UK’s No1 brand1 Midland Snacks is our No1 pubcard2 CONVENIENCE


Display with Crisps and Nuts Hang clipstrips with BWS to aid incremental sales

Stock up on the leading pubcards - highly visual and space saving merchandising


SOURCES: 1. IRI Market Place | Total GB | Total Pork Snacks | Value | MAT to 20 Jan 20. 2. Tayto internal sales data.


p.34 Catering Aug 21_Ivan Durkin feature 1 real 09/08/2021 10:27 Page 1


Confidence is key for caterers While taking into account the latest food and drink trends in order to appeal to consumers, caterers are also looking for proven best-sellers that they can rely on.


s the UK fully emerges from the COVID-19 restrictions, caterers will be looking for quality products that fulfil (or exceed) consumer expectations while also meeting cost requirements, offering convenience and minimising risk of wastage. According to Scott Oakes, commercial manager of St Pierre Groupe, the key for caterers when purchasing from their wholesaler or cash & carry is confidence. “They want confidence in the consistency and quality of products, particularly for staples such as breads,” he says. As well as offering a ‘better and best’ option with the Baker Street and St Pierre brands, the combined range also “ticks the box for convenience and waste reduction”, says Oakes. All sliced loaves, buns and rolls are supplied ambient, pre-sliced and packed with a minimum 35-day shelf life (delivered to depot). St Pierre Groupe has a number of campaigns scheduled for later in the year, along with some NPD. With the meat-free market set to have an estimated value of £1.1 billion by 2024 (Mintel), caterers need to tap into this trend in order to keep up with consumer demand, maintains Mission Foodservice. “Research shows that 93% of plant-based meals are eaten by non-vegans (Kantar), so having exciting meat-free alternatives is crucial,” points out executive business development chef Kim Hartley. All Mission Tortillas and Tortilla Chips have been created to be suitable for vegan and vegetarian diets, providing operators and chefs with a diverse and flexible foundation for the creation of plant-based dishes. The tortillas are also available in a variety of sizes and formats, from frozen to long-life ambient products, and from low salt and low fat to flavoured options. Providing customers with great tea and coffee can be very affordable for caterers, and can drive customer satisfaction and loyalty, so they will be looking for high quality products, maintains Natalie King, out-of-home account manager at Taylors of Harrogate. “Cash & carries should ensure that the most in-demand catering products are easily accessible and available,” she 34

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says. “Yorkshire Tea is the only major black tea brand to offer the same strength across all products regardless of where it’s drunk, and we taste thousands of teas a day to make sure it’s just right. In addition, we’re the UK’s favourite brew in the home and caterers will look to offer their customers the brew they know and love at home.” The company has packs suitable for all out-of-home businesses. These include standard teabags, string and tag, loose leaf and individually-wrapped. Yorkshire Gold is perfect for premium caterers and is available individually-wrapped and in a loose-leaf format.

King also recommends that cash & carries stay up to date with new products that meet the needs of catering businesses. For example, Taylors of Harrogate Coffee Bags, which were launched to out-of-home businesses in 2019, are “perfect for hotel rooms, conferences, travel and workplaces”. Available in packs of 80, they are individually-wrapped for freshness and contain fresh roast and ground coffee. They work like a tea bag, brewing in just two minutes, making it easy for guests to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee from the comfort of their room with minimal equipment. “For many caterers, the environmental impact of the tea and coffee they serve is just as important as the taste, and cash & carries should consider this when choosing which products to stock,” King advises. The Taylors of Harrogate business (and all of its tea and coffee) is 100% carbon neutral. “We’re especially proud of the proper way that we achieved this, by setting up projects that not only offset carbon but also improve lives and liveliCCM hoods directly with our farmers,” she adds.

For further information: Mission Foodservice (02476) 710704 St Pierre Groupe 0161-946 1355 Taylors of Harrogate (01423) 814000

There are two choices for ground coffee: 1) Taylors and 2) less popular brands Coffee is worth £201 million* in convenience so it pays to get it right

Stock the best-sellers

Ta lors is the UK’s fa Taylors favourite o rite ground coffee brand.**

Don’t forget Decaffé

Keep up with the trends

Ground coffee has grown by 7.8% YOY.*

Drive incremental sales through merchandising

Decaf has grown by 16.5% YOY and is worth 10% of the total coffee category.***

Position coffee close to associated categories like biscuits and sugar.

*IRI & Kantar, 52 w/e 19th June 2021 | **IRI Value Sales 52 w/e 19th June 2021 | ***Kantar 52 w/e 21st March 2021

pp.36-40 Tobacco Aug 21_Ivan Durkin feature 1 real 09/08/2021 10:33 Page 1


More than just hot air Smokers may know what options sit behind closed doors, but there are increasing chances to inform them about manufacturer innovations in the tobacco category. Are your customers able to spot and secure a new sales opportunity? Siobhan Kielty highlights trends and NPD.


obacco remains an important category in the convenience channel, with manufacturers monitoring trends and investing in innovation. Current consumer interest in smoke-free alternatives and rollyour-own products is eating into factory-made cigarette (FMC) category domination, and retailer education is a focus for manufacturers. Imperial Tobacco has directed its FMC activity in line with consumer needs, enabling retailers to make the most of opportunities that arise as trends and preferences shift. “We launched a raft of new innovations in the wake of the menthol ban to help wholesalers provide their retail customers with suitable solutions for ex-menthol shoppers.” explains Duncan Cunningham, UK corporate affairs director. “We actively monitor the emerging market trends in the tobacco category and adapt our product offering to ensure it is well positioned to help our trade customers tap into the latest sales opportunities. “In recent years, this has included the repositioning of some of our leading 36

August 2021

brands into the sub-economy sector, such as L&B Blue and Embassy, which both now offer premium quality and at an affordable price.” In the RYO segment, Imperial has introduced NPD from its Gold Leaf brand. The Gold Leaf Carnival Edition Papers feature a series of four carnival-themed designs that will be rotated until the end of September. They can be found in Gold Leaf 30g pouches, which now feature an improved click and close pouch design to keep the tobacco blend fresher for longer. The 50g Gold Leaf pouches have also been updated with the new packaging feature, and on-pack flashes promote the enhanced design on trade outers. JTI has introduced a 20s format for Sterling Dual Capsule Leaf Wrapped, the number one cigarillo brand. The sub £10 rsp offers value while the peppermint capsule filter and mentholated Virginia blend tobacco offers a flavour profile no longer available in factory-made cigarettes. The manufacturer advises wholesalers and retailers to capitalise on the growth of the cigarillo market, now worth about £6 million a

Stock up on Players Easy Rolling Tobacco p st Ou cheape Our o** o cco T bacc li g Tob ling R lli Rol High g qual ali litty y

Easy rolling blend

30g RRP ††


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pp.36-40 Tobacco Aug 21_Ivan Durkin feature 1 real 09/08/2021 10:33 Page 2

[ TOBACCO, ACCESSORIES & NGPS ] month, by stocking up on products such as Sterling Dual Capsule Leaf Wrapped, which has a 92.5% share of the UK cigarillo market (IRI). STG has similarly focused on value with its new pack format for the Signature Red Filter brand. The vanilla flavour and smooth taste of the UK’s best-selling aromatic filter cigar is now available in a pocket-friendly sized pack with an rsp of £5.79. “We know that consumers are increasingly looking for more compact and convenient formats so we anticipate that this change will be well received, particularly at the new reduced price point,” says Clara Maria Endresen, brand activation manager. “The ‘filter and flavour’ segment, and in particular vanilla, grew approximately 8% between 2018 and 2020, so there is increasing demand for this type of cigar.”

‘We know that consumers are increasingly looking for more compact and convenient formats’ Clara Maria Endresen, STG brand activation manager The supplier is providing guidance to its customers through its new trade website, This “acts as a good reference point for cash & carry staff who wish to increase their knowledge of the category”, says Alastair Williams, country director. “Once you register your details you will gain access to detailed information on each brand and the category as a whole, a recommended price list and much more.”

On display Accessories create a good visibility tool for retailers and Clipper is the market leader by value in the UK lighter category (IRI). Despite a category market decrease of 15%, the manufacturer continues to expand its hold – Clipper has a 42.2% market share of the £72 million category (IRI). The brand benefits from high visibility through its carousel counter display, boosting sales by more than 50% compared to standard gantry sales. The products also attract attention through a wide range of design trends and ideas for today’s image-conscious consumer – more than 4,000 different lighter designs are developed per year worldwide and all showcase the quality that the company prides itself on. Additionally, the Clipper brand 38

August 2021

Clipper’s art-led design appeal and replaceable parts have earned five decades of brand loyalty from consumers.

remains synonymous with reusability – an increasingly attractive selling point for environmentally-aware consumers. The lighters incorporate replaceable flints and refillable gas so they can just keep working. Since its inception in the 1970s, the brand has gained a reputation for quality, longevity and collectability that still resonates with today’s adult smokers. Republic Technologies (UK) advises retailers to stock with seasonal considerations in mind. “Utility lighters – available on space-saving clip strips – and household matches see a significant sales uplift from August through to December and can be dual-sited to give retailers an opportunity to boost sales within tobacco and RYO accessories,” says Gavin Anderson, head of sales. “Republic Technologies’ matches portfolio includes iconic household names such as Bryant & May Extra Long – available in shelf-ready dispensers to maximise space – and Cook’s.”

Fighting the illicit tobacco trade JTI has once again taken decisive action against sellers of illicit tobacco by removing tobacco gantries from three retail stores in the North West of England. The removal of JTI gantries from Moorage News in Lancaster and Lucky News in Manchester came after both retailers were found to be selling illegal tobacco products. In the case of Lucky News, Manchester City Council trading standards officers found 1,680 illegal cigarettes, with packs on sale for as little as £6. Jit’s Super Shop in Stalybridge had its gantry removed by JTI after its licence was suspended in January by members of Tameside’s licensing panel. It followed an investigation by local police and HMRC, after reports that the store was selling alcohol, and cigarettes for 50p each, to schoolchildren in the local area. According to parents and representatives from local schools, there had been significant issues with the sale of contraband to pupils for several years. The illicit tobacco trade remains a serious problem in the UK. If traders know, or suspect, illegal tobacco is being sold in their area, they should call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on (0808) 223 1133, HMRC’s Fraud Hotline on (0800) 788 887 or Crimestoppers (anonymously) on (0800) 555 111.

The pipe smokers choice. A name they know. A taste they love.

pp.36-40 Tobacco Aug 21_Ivan Durkin feature 1 real 09/08/2021 10:34 Page 3

[ TOBACCO, ACCESSORIES & NGPS ] The manufacturer is seeing growth in the accessories segment, with its Swan Fresh Burst Crushball heading the menthol capsule filter market. “Effective product display is an important consideration in this category for driving awareness and demand, particularly if you are looking to increase profits by stocking a range of products that deliver on quality and brand assurance,” says Anderson. “To drive RYO sales, focus on the products that meet your customers’ specific needs and actively promote the trusted brands and formats they’re seeking. As consumers demand more choice and variety, effective new product development is more important than ever.” The company has achieved a strong performance over the past year partly due to its recognition of consumer trends and needs. Tobacco legislation has narrowed choice for menthol smokers, who have turned to innovations such as the Swan Flavour Fusion Cards and the Swan Crushball Filters. Meanwhile, consumers prioritising sustainability have helped to make OCB the UK’s fastest-growing mainstream paper brand (IRI).

Next-generation products JUUL recommends that retailers maximise the opportunities available in the vaping segment by offering a smoking alternative that is competitively priced, highly visible and popular with consumers. “Success lies in stocking, displaying and prioritising the category leaders, offering a limited range of secondary alternatives and removing the tail of slow sellers that only take up space and reduce return on investment,” advises John Patterson, sales director. “It is vital that in order to get their fair share of the category and its growth, retailers have a professional, well-managed display to gain and retain customers.” When it comes to category management, the convenience channel has a chance to earn the same kind of loyalty from its vaping customers as from its smokers if the products are sensibly priced, readily available and supported by good retailer knowledge. The heated tobacco category has grown by 155.2% year on year and was worth £49 million last year in traditional retail (IRI). JTI is looking to expand the market for its Ploom device. “Although Ploom is only available currently in a select few accredited retailers in London 40

August 2021

and the EVO tobacco sticks for retailers and wholesalers within the M25, the ambition is to see Ploom become the number one heated tobacco device in the UK,” says Gemma Bateson, head of reduced risk products. The EVO tobacco sticks are available in four variants: Bronze (full-flavoured tobacco), Sepia (smooth and rounded tobacco), Emerald (tobacco infused with cooling menthol) and Purple (tobacco infused with berry and menthol). Philip Morris International is helping retailers encourage smoke-free alternatives through digital development. “We’ve invested significantly in strengthening the digital support we offer retailers through the launch of a new digital trade engagement platform,” explains Kate O’Dowd, head of commercial planning UK & Ireland. “The platform offers a range of tools, resources and new support services that will help retailers get the most out of stocking IQOS and HEETS. “Alongside increasing our digital support, we’ve doubled our field force and expanded into 18 new regions across the UK,” she adds.

‘With only a fraction of vaping sales currently coming from traditional retail outlets, there is a huge opportunity to grow the market share in the convenience channel’ Duncan Cunningham, UK corporate affairs director, Imperial Tobacco & blu Imperial Tobacco’s UK corporate affairs director Duncan Cunningham agrees that, for wholesalers, educating the supply chain about the products and trends that are gaining traction will benefit both the consumer and the retailer. “With only a fraction of vaping sales currently coming from traditional retail outlets, there is a huge opportunity to grow the market share in the convenience channel by more effectively catering to the growing consumer demand,” he says. “By being informed about the vaping market and familiarising themselves and their staff with the different products, terminologies and market trends, wholesalers can provide much needed guidance to retailers about what CCM consumers are buying.”

For further information: Clipper UK (01268) 662222 Imperial Tobacco (0117) 963 6636 JTI (01932) 372000 JUUL (0808) 164 1301 Philip Morris International 020-7076 6000 Republic Technologies (01494) 492233 Scandinavian Tobacco Group UK 020-8731 3400

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£3.5m campaign

Retailer prizes

On-trade launch

Halewood Artisanal Spirits has introduced a £3.5 million campaign for JJ Whitley vodka which celebrates the brand’s Russian provenance, whilst also paying homage to its British heritage. The campaign focuses on the bestselling variants, JJ Whitley Artisanal Russian Vodka, Raspberry Vodka, and the recently launched Artisanal Russian Gold Vodka. It will see the brand go on TV for the first time as sponsor of Sky One’s ‘Nights In’ programming. In addition, there will be out-of-home and digital activity, as well as print advertising. Halewood 0151-480 8800

Mondelez is giving retailers the chance to win family prizes in a promotion on Cadbury’s treats predominantly bought by parents for their children. Each time retailers purchase a case from the range – which includes Curly Wurly, Chomp, Freddo, Fudge and CDM Buttons – they can fill in the entry form at to enter the draw for a £100 Love2Shop gift card every week for 10 weeks. Those who are unsuccessful in the weekly draws will be entered into a final draw for the opportunity to win one of two family days out. Mondelez (01214) 582000

Budweiser Brewing Group has announced that the Goose Island Hazy Session IPA, Today’s Haze, is now available to the UK on-trade. Having been launched to the offtrade in May, the 4.6% abv IPA from the Chicago-based brewery is now available to pubs and bars in both can and keg formats. Jean-David Thumelaire, on-trade sales director at Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, says: “Since reopening, recognisable premium brands really are winning in pubs, with IPAs proving a strong driver of growth.” Budweiser (0870) 241 1124

Flavours refresh

Local Legends

Bake a Difference

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) is rolling out Coca-Cola Zero Sugar’s new look to its Cherry and Vanilla variants. This will be backed with a nationwide sampling of over a million packs and a £3 million marketing spend. The activity, which continues the ‘Open That Coca-Cola’ campaign launched earlier this year, will target young adults and will include sampling Coca-Cola Zero Sugar at festivals, via digital couponing and when students return to university in September. Coca-Cola Zero Sugar is now worth £322 million (Nielsen). CCEP (0808) 1000 000

Boost Drinks is celebrating 20 years in the soft drinks industry by launching a search to find the best local independent retailers in the UK. With £20,000 in store for the winner, independent retailers are invited to enter the competition by completing a simple online application form highlighting how and why they go ‘above and beyond’ to help their customers. The successful ‘Local Legends’ will be announced in October, and then Boost Drinks’ CEO Simon Gray will present the awards at a gala ‘Platinum Party’ in London in November. Boost Drinks (0113) 240 3666

General Mills has announced a partnership between Betty Crocker and Macmillan Cancer Support’s Coffee Morning. Supported by Betty Crocker’s new ‘Bake a Difference’ campaign, the tie-in will see the brand give a total of £100,000 to the charity. For every special pack bought of Devil’s Food Cake Mix, Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix, Chocolate Fudge Icing and Butter Cream Vanilla Icing, 10p will be donated. The ‘Bake a Difference’ campaign will include PR, social media, influencer, ecommerce and shopper activity. General Mills (01895) 201100


August 2021

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Funshine message

Artisan drinks

Skull imagery

Pernod Ricard is inviting consumers to ‘Let The Funshine’ with its new global media campaign for Malibu, the UK’s No.1 coconut rum brand (Nielsen). The campaign is running until the end of this month across YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and digital display. To drive further brand awareness, Malibu is collaborating with global singer-songwriter Anne-Marie, actor Michael Dapaah, and nine UK influencers, who will be releasing their inner ‘Funshine’ all summer long and inviting their followers to join them. Pernod Ricard 020-8538 4484

Sunmagic Juices has relaunched Daymer Bay drinks as a premium artisan juices and lemonades brand. Available in 250ml single-serve glass bottles, the Daymer Bay range comprises five not-from-concentrate premium juices: Orange, Cloudy Apple, Pineapple, Tomato and Apple & Mango. The new range also features two still lemonades – Cloudy Lemonade and Raspberry Lemonade – which are made using freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a Cranberry Juice drink. Wholesaler promotions are available, tailored to each account. Sunmagic Juices (07990) 064735

Halewood Artisanal Spirits has unveiled three limited-edition 1.75-litre bottles for Dead Man’s Fingers Spiced Rum, each of which is emblazoned with unique skull imagery. The new skull artwork is also featured on the Dead Man’s Fingers RV, which is touring the UK from this month, providing free slushy samples made with a range of best-selling Dead Man’s Fingers rums. With 22 days of activations across 12 cities throughout the UK, the £250,000 campaign is expected to reach over 80,000 consumers. Halewood 0151-480 8800

August 2021


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