Cash and Carry Management Dec 23

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Importance of wholesale highlighted by SWA at parliamentary reception

Brakes to create 100 jobs as it expands Scottish site by 25%

for your support throughout the year.

FWD Gold Medal awards honour top performers

C ntents

December 2023

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers 04



Delivering gifts and festive cheer to approximately 1,200 schools.

Country Range Group signs its fourth new member this year.

Crowned Star Driver after saving a woman’s life while on the road.



Industry News Products & Promotions


News Extra Wholesalers from all over Scotland spoke to more than 35 MSPs at a parliamentary reception organised by the Scottish Wholesale Association.


FWD Gold Medals The FWD’s annual awards, held last month in London, recognised progressive wholesaler and supplier businesses as well as outstanding employees.


Spotlight Mohammed Kola, finance director of Bradford-based family-owned wholesaler Adams Foodservice, a member of Confex.


Mohammed Kola, who joined Adams Foodservice in 2020, likes to explore, travel and learn about different cultures and cuisines.

Tobacco & NGPs The tobacco and next-generation product categories continue to evolve, and wholesalers can support their customers by giving advice on market trends, NPD and best-selling brands.

EDITORIAL Managing Editor Kirsti Sharratt Contributor Siobhan Kielty ADVERTISING AND MARKETING Publishing Director Martin Lovell Media Sales Manager Clare Phillips For media rates and feature lists, visit ISSN 1352-254X

Address Winlove Publications Ltd PO Box 366, East Grinstead, RH19 4ZE Tel (01342) 712100 Email Website LinkedIn Twitter

December 2023



‘Raising the Bar’ SPAR Scotland will return to the Macdonald Hotel & Resort in Aviemore for its 2024 tradeshow and conference, which has the theme ‘Raising the Bar’. The event, scheduled for 26 September, will feature over 200 supplier exhibitors, as well as speakers from CJ Lang & Son, SPAR UK and SPAR International. More than 850 delegates – including SPAR independent retailers and companyowned store colleagues – are expected to attend the tradeshow, which is the largest of its kind in Scotland for the convenience retail industry. The event will include the SPAR Scotland Awards.

£15 million depot investment

Sysco GB has announced a £15 million investment in its Brakes Scotland depot in Newhouse, North Lanarkshire, creating around 100 new jobs as it expands the site by more than 25%. As part of the development, Brakes Scotland is

Return to Bestway

Steve Irons has been appointed head of contracts (foodservice) at Bestway Wholesale. The appointment marks Irons’ return to Bestway – he was senior contracts & key accounts manager between 2012 and 2016. Irons (pictured) started his career in wholesale/retail as a trainee manager with CJ Lang & Son in 1995 (aged 21). At 23, he was appointed manager of its Martex Cash & Carry in Cupar, making him 04

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the youngest C&C manager in the country. Over the next 16 years, he managed a number of CJ Lang’s cash & carries and latterly led its foodservice division before that part of the business was sold to Bestway in 2011. He then spent six years at Bestway, heading up its foodservice contract business, before moving to Booker’s foodservice division, Chef Direct, where he also spent six years. In late 2021, he rejoined CJ Lang as wholesale sales director, and for the last year he was company-owned stores operations director. In other news, Bestway Foundation has presented a cheque for £100,000 to The National Brain Appeal. The money was raised through Bestway’s 2024 Ascot Charity Race Day.

committed to increasing the number of Scottish products it sells. Already one of the largest of the 30 depots in Sysco’s British network, the Newhouse site will be enlarged to more than 200,000 sq feet (once planning permission

has been granted). The improved facilities will enable the company to increase the range of local fresh products it can sell, something it has identified as being increasingly important to food outlets across the country. Paul Nieduszynski, chief executive at Sysco GB, told Cash & Carry Management: “Brakes Scotland has grown steadily over the past few years, serving communities right across the nation. “The investment that we are making in the Newhouse facility to increase our capacity and grow our Scottish range shows our commitment to providing marketleading range and service to our existing and new customers across Scotland.”

Festive deliveries

Castell Howell is delivering festive cheer across Wales for the sixth consecutive year with its two #CHSanta Christmas lorries. Deliveries will be made to approximately 1,200 schools as well as featuring at community Christmas fayres and carnivals, with the driver dressed as Santa giving out special gifts along the way. More than 2,000 presents are given each year, including fruit hampers, selection packs, activity packs and

Welsh food hampers. The company has also launched a competition to find the best photos of the festive lorries, with luxury food hampers to be won. Martin Jones, director of transport operations at Castell Howell, said: “We’re very aware that Christmas can be a difficult time for families, so our festive lorries allow us to reach far and wide to deliver a little festive magic and fun along the way.”


Fair Deal for Sugro Fair Deal Cash & Carry has become the newest member of Sugro. Established in 2014, Fair Deal Cash & Carry is a familyowned business in Southall, West London.

It operates from a 23,000 sq ft cash & carry, offering a wide range of lines across confectionery, crisps, snacks, soft drinks, household cleaning, toiletries and disposable packaging categories to independent retailers and smaller cash & carries across mainland UK. The wholesaler also manufactures kids’ novelty confectionery lines under its own brand. Survir Nagpal, director at Fair Deal Cash & Carry, said: “Joining Sugro will allow us

to gain access to more suppliers and gain better deals and become a low-cost solution for all independent retailers. “We aim to provide our customers with as many varieties of products from various categories in one place, making their shopping journey as convenient as possible.” In other news, Sugro has launched a Retail Sample Box campaign, prompted by the continued success of its Wholesale Sample Box initiative introduced in 2021. The new campaign will give retailers the chance to familiarise themselves with the latest product launches and ‘must stock’ core lines, with a view to stocking the products and increasing profitability and sales in their stores. Sugro has already run a successful trial with its

Northern Ireland based member O’Reilly’s Wholesale. Managing director Derek O’Reilly commented: “This has been a great success. Our customers enjoyed receiving the sample box free of charge and thought it was a nice gesture from O’Reilly’s and Sugro. 75% of the customers that have been offered the box have given the representative an order for the products listed in the box.”

Own-brand changes Caterforce is improving the recipes of its own-brand Chefs’ Selections products to ensure they meet Public Health England’s salt reduction targets for 2024. Chefs’ Selections sauces, which include 2.27-litre mint sauce, sticky bbq sauce, French dressing, salad cream, Caesar dressing, Thai sweet chilli, horseradish and premium tomato ketchup, all now have reduced salt and sugar. Chefs’ Selections Tomato Paste also has reduced salt. Meanwhile, Caterforce has announced the addition of four new cakes and desserts to its Chefs’ Selections range. The new lines are Vegan & Gluten Free Chocolate Orange Dessert, Vegan & Gluten Free Lemon & Berry Delice, Vegan Speculoos Traybake, and Gluten Free Raspberry Sensation Cheesecake.

New site and business controller Bidfood has confirmed that it will open a depot in Worcester in 2025, taking the total number of its sites in the UK to 27. The Worcester warehouse will be approximately 60,000 sq ft and will be the latest addition to the company’s growing infrastructure, adding to the Glasgow and Bedfordshire sites, which both started operating earlier this year. Located on the Worcester Six Business Park, this latest network development will provide transport links to the Midlands region and approximately 200 new jobs to local people. Mark Wood, chief operating officer at Bidfood, said:

“Worcester will provide an excellent addition to our network and offer some much needed capacity in and around the Birmingham area. “The introduction of yet another new depot continues to emphasise the importance that we place on longterm investment in our infrastructure. The addition of this new depot will further enhance our ability to provide our customers with service excellence and ultimately place us closer to them.” In other news, Bidfood has recruited Vicki Philpott as business development controller for hotels and restaurants.

She is responsible for leading the national sales teams in supporting these sectors. Philpott (pictured) began her career with Diageo almost 25 years ago. Since then she has undertaken roles with suppliers including Molson Coors, Twinings, Mars and, most recently, Hain Celestial. In addition to her experience, Philpott is a strong advocate of diversity and inclusion, championing industry networking and educational programmes such as Women in Wholesale, which is part of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD).

WiW events Women in Wholesale (WiW) Speed Mentoring will take place on 26 April at events venue Convene in London. The event is designed to be a lively day of learning and networking, enabling delegates to boost their confidence and connections. WiW will also be holding regular online meetings next year focusing on wellness, the menopause and professional development.

December 2023



Board member Unitas Wholesale has appointed trading director Cheryl Hope to its board.

Hope (pictured) joined Unitas in 2022 in the newlycreated role of director of trading & development, and she was promoted to trading director earlier this year. Before that she was head of trading (foodservice) at AF Blakemore & Son.

New RDMs Nisa has recruited Phil Knox and Fiona Shearer to its retail development team in Scotland. Joining from his most recent role as regional controller for Bestway Retail, Knox also has 20 years of experience in convenience with former positions at Costcutter Supermarkets Group and Musgrave Retail Partners. Shearer joins Nisa from Penny Petroleum, having spent two years there as a retail merchandiser. Previously, she spent over 20 years at CJ Lang, first as a store manager and then as a territory sales executive. The two new recruits join Nisa as retail development managers, with Knox responsible for Eastern Scotland and Shearer supporting stores in the west. 06

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Waterdene joins CRG Waterdene Foodservice is the latest wholesaler to join Country Range Group (CRG). Formed in 1982, Waterdene Foodservice is a family-owned business based in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire. It has a fleet of 23 delivery vehicles that supply schools, hospitals, pubs, coffee shops, garden centres and other leisure outlets. With over 3,500 product lines and 47 employees, the company makes 1,500 deliveries per week. Martin Ward, chief executive of CRG, said: “It’s been an extremely exciting year for the group with three new members already on board, but welcoming Waterdene Foodservice as the fourth new member of 2023 is the icing on the cake. “Increasing scale is one of

the four pillars of our group strategy to ensure we are as competitive as possible in a consolidating marketplace.” Waterdene Foodservice’s MD Richard Stimpson added: “We’re delighted to be joining the Country Range Group and I’m confident it won’t be long before we start to see the benefits. CRG’s ownbrand portfolio is highly

Wilds acquisition Kitwave Group has acquired drinks wholesaler Wilds of Oldham.

Established for over 25 years, Wilds of Oldham is a family-run wholesaler supplying the on and off-trade. Currently, it has 35 members of staff and 11 vehicles that deliver to customers within a 50-mile radius of its depot in Oldham. In the financial year ended 30 September 2022, the business had a turnover of £10.2 million. The acquisition will be incorporated into Kitwave’s existing foodservice on-trade business HB Clark & Co. Kitwave CEO Paul Young said: “We are delighted to

announce the acquisition of Wilds of Oldham, which will assist in the distribution of HB Clark’s alcohol and soft drinks products throughout the North West. Wilds of Oldham will make a strong addition to our foodservice division. “At Kitwave, we remain focused on capitalising on the fragmented UK wholesale market and will continue to identify the best opportunities to deliver the most value for our stakeholders.” Andrew Wild, managing director of Wilds of Oldham, added: “After many successful years of business, we are thrilled to have secured this acquisition. We couldn’t be happier that the family business will be transferring to HB Clark, a thriving fellow Unitas member.”

revered in the industry, and the group’s buying power, analysis, data and insights, plus marketing, are second to none.” In other news, CRG has introduced Country Range Gingerbread Cake and Chocolate Orange Cheesecake, which are both suitable for vegans, and Chocolate, Cherry & Rum Tart.

Holiday meals Harvest Fine Foods, Bidfood and City Catering have teamed up to fund and produce Cook at Home Boxes again for Christmas 2023. This means that 1,200 families from Southampton City Council Schools will get boxes of ingredients to produce three hot and nutritious meals during the Christmas holidays.

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Foodservice MD AF Blakemore has appointed Lawrence Shirazian as managing director of its newly formed foodservice business unit, which combines the company’s foodservice, fresh meat, and wholesale divisions. Shirazian (pictured) was most recently a consultant for private equity and software companies in the hospitality industry, and before that he was managing director at Aramark UK, leading operations across 700 locations involving 8,000 colleagues. In total, he spent 14 years at Aramark.

His previous experience also includes senior roles at Delaware North, Welcome Break, and Zizzi Restaurants. Shirazian commented: “I am thrilled to be joining AF Blakemore to deliver the strategic vision at such an exciting time for their foodservice businesses. “I share the passion for creating value by providing our partners with great food and drink solutions borne out of a deep understanding of their customers and a need for operational efficiency.” AF Blakemore recently announced sales of £1.2 billion and a 65% increase in EBITDA for the year ending May 2023, with a further 44% increase in EBITDA for the first 24 weeks of 2023/24. As well as its wholesale and foodservice businesses, AF Blakemore services 900 convenience stores including company-owned and independent SPAR retailers.

Perfect potato? Fresh Direct – part of Sysco – has launched a Chef’s Choice potato, aimed at setting a new benchmark for a chipping and roasting potato. The potato has been developed in partnership with the producer Linwood Crops following extensive trials and will be exclusively distributed by Fresh Direct in foodservice. Following harvest, strict store conditioning management and regular on-farm testing, Linwood takes the pick of the crop from selected growers across the UK. The potatoes then go through further checks on arrival at the packing plant, with each batch checked for 08

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consistent starch and sugar levels and dry matter content. Most importantly, a sample from every load is cooked to ensure that they are ready to create the ‘perfect’ chipping and roasting potato.

Boost for Go Local

Parfetts is expanding its team of specialist advisors to support retailers across the UK. The wholesaler is recruiting five more people to take its retail development team to a total of 30 advisors. In addition to the retail development advisors, the support team includes three recently appointed regional managers, four store development managers and four merchandisers. The appointments are being driven by the growth of Parfetts’ network of Go Local stores to over 1,200

locations nationally, and the ongoing success and expansion of its state-of-the-art depot in Birmingham, which opened earlier this year. Go Local retailers from across the UK gathered recently to celebrate the best in convenience retail at Parfetts’ annual Retailer Awards. Among the winners were Vivekananthan Nallavairan and Kokilavathani Vivekananthan (pictured) of The Local VKD Food and Wine in Thornton, Lancashire, who were presented with the Best Newcomer award.

Planet Plan progress JJ Foodservice has invested significantly in sustainability as part of its Planet Plan, according to chief operating officer Kaan Hendekli. Speaking at the recent JJ Supplier Conference, he revealed that JJ’s new Wimbledon branch will use CO2 gas for cold storage refrigeration instead of traditional R404A gas, which is reported to have a global warming impact of 3992 compared with 1 for CO2 ( Plans are under way to switch the other 11 branches to CO2. By March 2024, all 12 JJ branches will be equipped with a total of 11,000 solar panels. Every year the panels

are expected to lower CO2 emissions by 820 tonnes. Additionally, 110 warehouse vehicles have been converted from gas to electric, reducing CO2 emissions annually by 200 tonnes. The initiative is expected to save up to £200,000 each year. The investment in solar panels is predicted to save £1.5 million annually.


50% Longer Lasting Rolls

Even more cushiony softness


SWA engages with politicians Wholesalers from across Scotland spoke to MSPs about their businesses at a parliamentary reception organised by the Scottish Wholesale Association.


Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) parliamentary reception – attended by more than 35 MSPs from all parties – was held at Holyrood last month to highlight the importance and resilience of the Scottish wholesale industry. Sponsored by Daniel Johnson, the MSP for Edinburgh Southern, and featuring a keynote speech by Richard Lochhead MSP, the Minister for Small Business, Innovation, Tourism & Trade, the reception attracted 120 SWA members and partner organisations from throughout Scotland, including Brian Johnston, general manager of JW Gray in the Shetland Islands. Colin Smith, SWA chief executive, told the audience: “We represent an industry that is literally the wheels to Scotland’s food and drink supply chain, and yet until Covid hit we were a relatively unknown sector within the Scottish Government and across the Parliament – that’s despite wholesale being vital to food security and its supply into our local communities, our schools, hospitals, tourism, hospitality and leisure outlets.”

Worth £3.3 billion He also stressed the wholesale sector’s importance to the Scottish economy and its transition to net zero, adding: “Scotland’s wholesale marketplace is now worth around £3.3 billion, with Scotland representing approximately 10% of the total UK wholesale channel.” To demonstrate the diversity of the Scottish wholesale sector, seven SWA members – Brakes, CJ Lang & Son, Glencrest, Inverarity Morton, JW Gray, Lomond Fine Foods and Mark Murphy – showcased their businesses to MSPs at the event. 10

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Left to right: MSP Daniel Johnson, SWA CEO Colin Smith, and MSP Richard Lochhead, the Minister for Small Business, Innovation, Tourism & Trade.

Edinburgh-based Mark Murphy, a foodservice supplier of fruit and vegetables and other produce, discussed with MSPs the SWA’s Wholesale Local Food Champion project. Mark Murphy was one of the first wholesalers to get on board with the initiative, the aim of which is to encourage Scotland’s wholesalers to nominate individuals to shape the local sourcing strategy within their business. Addressing guests and MSPs, Lochhead commented: “Wholesalers play a vital role in connecting Scottish producers with retailers and consumers, ensuring that everyone has access to fresh, high-quality food and drink.” The minister paid tribute to JW Gray, which had explained the unique challenges faced by island wholesalers partly due to weather-related connectivity issues, and their key role in keeping communities, hospitals and care homes supplied all year round. Lochhead said: “Wholesalers play an especially important role in the Scottish islands, helping to ensure that islanders have access to the same high-quality food and drink as people on the mainland.” Highlighting the “important and

successful” role the SWA played during the pandemic, he added: “Over the past three years, the SWA has carried out outstanding work to highlight the importance of the wholesale sector to ministers, officials and Parliament. I know how difficult a time that was for many wholesale businesses and I am impressed by the Association’s foresight in planning for the sector’s recovery and strengthening it after the pandemic.

Partnership approach “I am pleased also that the SWA and wholesalers have been working in partnership with the [Scottish Government] food and drink team as well as other trade bodies such as Scotland Food & Drink and Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society to further the success of Scotland’s economic wellbeing,” Lochhead added. Smith concluded the reception by extending an invitation to all MSPs to visit a wholesaler in their constituency to see first-hand the “extraordinary lengths they go to, to ensure we truly are creating a strong, sustainable local CCM food and drink supply chain”.


‘Sheer passion for excellence’ The FWD Gold Medal Awards honoured talented individuals and progressive businesses that have made their mark during the past 12 months in the UK wholesale industry.


early 900 people gathered to celebrate the outstanding achievements of wholesaler and supplier businesses and talented people across the industry at the FWD Gold Medal Awards dinner last month. Held last month at Old Billingsgate, London, the event saw 25 Gold Medals being presented. Among the individual wholesaler awards, Parfetts’ Holly Pennington was the recipient of the Emerging Talent award; Patrick Nayler of Creed Foodservice was crowned Wholesale Manager; JW Filshill’s Amanda Casey was named Wholesale Star; and Gail Davidson of Henderson Foodservice received the Telesales Star award. In two victories for JJ Foodservice, Kane Pearce won the Customer Development accolade, while Kevin

Peacock was crowned Star Driver after his heroic actions while out on his delivery route saved the life of a woman who had suffered a brain haemorrhage. Introducing the awards, FWD chairman Dawood Pervez said: “We have so many talented people and progressive businesses within our sector who have been nominated for an award and whom we are proud to be recognising. All our judges have been inspired by the commitment, dedication, and sheer passion for excellence that has shone through. “Our industry is all about its people and we honour the individuals in the sector who make wholesale such an inspiring and valuable place to work. We have faced challenges and embraced successes to ensure our industry is a sector that continues to CCM thrive.”

2023 FWD Gold Medal winners Diversity in Wholesale Creed Foodservice Use of Data & Insight Henderson Foodservice Sustainable Wholesaler Sysco GB Telesales Star Gail Davidson, Henderson Foodservice Star Driver Kevin Peacock, JJ Foodservice Wholesale Manager Patrick Nayler, Creed Foodservice Customer Development Kane Pearce, JJ Foodservice Wholesale Star Amanda Casey, JW Filshill Emerging Talent Holly Pennington, Parfetts Wholesaler with turnover up to £50m Dunsters Farm On Trade Wholesaler Small Beer Foodservice Wholesaler Adams Foodservice Retail Wholesaler Parfetts

Use of Data & Insight Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Service Provider Lumina Intelligence Service to Wholesale Coca-Cola Europacific Partners New Retail Product Red Bull Juneberry New Foodservice Product Bisto Southern Fried Gravy, Premier Foods Marketing & Promotional Activation Coca-Cola Europacific Partners Sustainable Supplier Budweiser Brewing Group Emerging Talent Issy Blatherwick, Budweiser Brewing Group Licensed Brand Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Asahi UK Foodservice Brand Bisto, Premier Foods Grocery Brand Lucozade, Suntory Beverage & Food Diversity in Wholesale Heineken UK

Hannah Barlow of Dunsters Farm accepts the Smaller Wholesaler award.

Parfetts’ Guy Swindell is presented with the Retail Wholesaler accolade.

Adams Foodservice directors receive the Foodservice Wholesaler award.

Rob Eastwood of Small Beer collects the On Trade Wholesaler accolade.

December 2023


[ SPOTLIGHT ] Mohammed Kola, finance director, Adams Foodservice I try to consistently maintain a pragmatic approach in both business and life. I am a firm believer in fostering a fun, inclusive and positive environment that enables individuals to thrive.

‘Anything is possible’ What have been your biggest achievements in work and outside work? I have celebrated numerous career milestones that fill me with pride, particularly those achieved in collaboration with exceptionally talented individuals and teams. My professional career started as a corporate banker. The highlights include seeing companies set up from modest premises to being listed on the stock exchange. Outside of work, I am proud to be the coach of my son’s football team which I have done for over 11 years. (Kola is pictured with his son.) I take immense pride in having guided the team to two consecutive promotions, securing a league title and taking the team to the semi final of an international football tournament in Spain where they played on FC Barcelona’s Camp Nou. Who has been the biggest inspiration to you? My parents and my wife have been the biggest inspiration to me – they have always pushed me to strive for personal and professional excellence. (Kola is pictured as a boy with his father.) They have also provided me with a real and honest sounding board to enable me to reflect and self-improve. 12

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What were your ambitions when you were growing up? As a child I aspired to be an astronaut. The allure of space exploration and viewing the world from a macro lens was inspiring. Even though I haven’t taken any flights into space yet, the passion to understand the solar system has led me to looking closer to home. I feel strongly about the planet and what we can do to look after it. I have a very adventurous side: I like to explore, travel and learn about different cultures. What are your interests outside work? I am an active person – I regularly play five-a-side football, coach football, and spend time in the gym. Additionally, I have a busy social schedule, enjoying catching up with friends and exploring new culinary experiences. Philanthropy is also important to me – I get involved with various charitable endeavours. How would you describe your personality and what approach do you take in business (and in life)? I possess a naturally inherent optimism that enables me to discern the positives within situations. I have a strong drive and belief that anything is possible. I feel it is imperative to lead by example;

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced and how did you overcome it? The most pivotal moment I have had in both my professional and personal life was the passing of a close friend. It recalibrated me as a person, particularly the quality time I spent with family. Subsequently, I made the challenging decision to transition away from a key role in a professional services firm. It was a very hard decision as I saw the business grow substantially. The death of my friend compelled me to foster a positive work-life balance for myself and the staff within my sphere of influence. If you won a holiday, where would you go and who would you take with you? I would look to take a long tour of Australia – a destination I have yet to explore. I would be accompanied by my wife, who not only serves as my ideal travel partner but is also an excellent CCM travel organiser.

Banking background After graduating from the University of Huddersfield with a degree in Law & Accountancy, Mohammed Kola spent two years with HSBC as a finance manager before continuing his banking career over 12 years in different roles at several companies including Al Rayan Bank, Lowell Group, HSBC for a second time, and Signature Tax. He then spent a year as commercial manager of CK Foods before joining AMS Accountants Group as associate director and progressing to director. Over a decade later – in 2020 – he was appointed to his current role of finance director at Adams Foodservice, a member of Confex.


Cosmic snacks

‘Don’t Mention It’

Campaign returns

Tayto has launched £1 PMP Saucers. The light and crunchy 3D lattice snacks come in Barbecue and Prawn Cocktail flavours. “For 75 years Golden Wonder has been offering fully flavoured, great value crisps and snacks,” says Matt Smith, marketing director. “£1 PMPs are a must-stock! They have been the main driver of snacks category growth over the past four years – growing more than twice as fast as the market.” Golden Wonder’s £1 PMP snacks range has outperformed the market (+22.6% versus +9.9%) (Circana).

Four Roses bourbon has introduced its first-ever consumer advertising campaign, targeting a younger whiskey drinker. Commissioned and co-ordinated by the brand’s long-term distributor, Spirit Cartel, the £400,000 digital outdoor and social media campaign is entitled ‘Don’t Mention It’. The work is initially focused on two bourbon-selling hotspots, London and Manchester. As part of the spend, further national activity is planned for early 2024. This will also take the brand into a wider variety of media. Four Roses 70cl has an rsp of £25.99.

Mondelez International has announced the return of its annual ‘Find the Winning Egg’ campaign. Shoppers who unwrap a half-milk chocolate, half-white chocolate Cadbury Creme Egg will be rewarded with one of hundreds of cash prizes on offer, including the chance to win £10,000. In addition, retailers who sell a winning egg could win £1,000 for themselves and their store. Other cash prizes, ranging from £25 to £500, are up for grabs, as well as Amazon vouchers. The campaign is being supported with social, digital and outdoor activations, plus PoS materials.

Festive promotion

Veganuary ready?

Bigger cases

PepsiCo and Bestway have partnered to launch a new promotion, focused on Walkers and Sensations. Three retailers will win £500, with an extra £1,000 donation each to a UK registered charity of their choice. To enter, retailers must simply purchase any two cases of Walkers or Sensations Christmas flavours in store or online at Bestway before 4 January, and text for their chance to win. The featured varieties are Walkers Pigs in Blankets and Festive Turkey (both £1.25 RRP PMP), and Walkers Sensations Beef Wellington and King Prawn & Marie Rose (both 150g).

Swizzels is urging the trade to stock up on its vegan range as it continues to grow in popularity. In 2023, more than 700,000 people signed up to try a vegan diet for the month of January, and Veganuary 2024 is expected to be the biggest yet. Swizzels has seen a surge in sales of its vegan range post-Covid, with a 19% increase in its vegan variety range, a 28% rise in its vegan countlines, and an 18% increase in its Originals bag range. Swizzels has made what started as a Veganuary-only campaign a year-round trend with the key message: ‘All These, All Year, All Vegan’.

Nairn’s has introduced a new 24-case format for its Pop Oats range. HFSS and school compliant, Nairn’s Pop Oats have 60% less fat than regular fried crisps and are gluten free. The product is available in three flavours – Salt & Vinegar, BBQ, and Sour Cream & Chive – and has 83 calories per pack. Ken Cameron, national account controller at Nairn’s, says: “The new bigger case of Pop Oats now includes 24 packs, a size that allows the packing of the case to be automated and therefore saving on cost – preventing an increase in price per unit.”

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Less smoke on the horizon The tobacco category remains a vital one to convenience retailers but it is a changing landscape. From the rising demand for value options to next-generation products (NGPs) to help smokers quit, it’s an evolving category requiring knowledgeable wholesalers.


hile the £14 billion-a-year tobacco category is still a major market for wholesalers, the patterns within the category are shifting. Unsurprisingly, there is a rising demand for lower-priced products as consumers try to economise, and the roll-your-own category now accounts for almost half (46%) of all tobacco sales (ITUK data). Imperial Tobacco has focused on value with several product launches. Players Max is a variant that has a modern bevelled-edge pack, cigarette sticks that are 12% longer than standard and a new intense blend. The product has an rsp of £10.50, which is £1.35 less than the Players standard Kingsize format. “With 68% of tobacco sales now in the lowest price sector, stocking Players Max will enable retailers to further capitalise on the rising demand for value tobacco by offering adult smokers a new cost-effective option from a wellknown, trusted brand,” says Tom Gully, head of consumer marketing UK & Ireland.

‘Rolling tobacco that benefits from the recognition of popular cigarette brands is an important purchase driver for consumers, especially those moving into the sub-value pricing category’ Tom Gully, Imperial Tobacco’s head of consumer marketing UK & Ireland Imperial Tobacco has also launched NPD for Richmond and Players brands with a new Compact range. “The Richmond and Players Compact variants, which are available at an RRP of £10.99 and £11.60 respectively, feature a modern rounded-corner pack that can easily fit into any bag or pocket for the ultimate on-the-go convenience,” says Gully. “The new cigarette sticks are 13% slimmer in size, allowing for a quicker and more pleasurable smoke, ideal for existing adult smokers looking to socialise.” 14

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Continued importance to convenience Data from TWC’s SmartView Convenience platform highlights the continuing importance of the tobacco category to independent convenience retailers. According to Sarah Chapman, director of communications, although the tobacco category saw a 10.45% decline year on year (52 weeks to 10 September 2023), it maintains the largest share across all categories (23.3%). Vape products account for just over 13.7% of value sales of tobacco products but are seeing 80% growth year on year, against a 16.4% decline for cigarettes. However, cigarettes account for 62% of value sales for the tobacco category. The Benson & Hedges brand holds the largest share in cigarettes, accounting for more than 21%, but it is seeing a decline of 17.9% year on year. Elf Bar is the largest brand in the vaping segment, with a 31% share. Nevertheless, the brand is also seeing a decline – 7.8% year on year.

In the RYO category there is also NPD from Imperial, with the extension of the Embassy Signature range to include Embassy Signature Rolling Tobacco in a 30g pouch. “The portrait pouch provides a modern look that’s easy to fit into a pocket and features a premium resealable zip lock to keep the freshness in,” Gully explains. “Rolling tobacco that benefits from the recognition of popular cigarette brands such as Embassy Signature is an important purchase driver for consumers, especially those moving into the sub-value pricing category, as they seek out the reassurance of a trusted brand. Through the launch of our new Embassy Signature Rolling Tobacco, we’re directly responding to this trend with a new launch from a familiar name that offers the same great quality and great value, but with a new roll-your-own experience.” JTI recently launched Mayfair Gold into the ultra-value cigarettes segment, with a modern outer design that has been carried across to Mayfair Silver. The manufacturer also introduced Sterling Dual Double Capsule Leaf Wrapped into the cigarillo category. The product features a blend of peppermint and berry mint capsules, providing a dual flavour cigarillo. “The growth of the category in convenience channels, now worth approximately £8 million a month (Circana),




This product contains nicotine. 18+ only. Not a smoking cessation product. © Fontem 2023. * Based on ITUK MRRP as at May 2023. For the avoidance of doubt, customers are free at all times to determine the selling price of their products.

[ TOBACCO & NGPS ] provides a large opportunity for wholesalers looking to expand their range,” says Gemma Bateson, sales director. “The innovation joins the already successful Sterling Dual Capsule Leaf Wrapped range – the fastest growing cigar brand in the UK and the number one cigarillo brand, with a 92.4% share of the market. The new flavour is a valuable addition to existing portfolios, giving retailers another way to maximise sales in a growing category.” Scandinavian Tobacco Group also highlights cigarillos as a growth segment for independent retailers. “To maximise cigar sales, it’s important that cash & carries stock the right range rather than a big range, as the top 10 brands account for well over 90% of total sales,” says Nataly Scarpetta, marketing manager. “They also need to make sure they are following current trends. For example, cigarillos are the current success story of the cigar category. Cash & carries should ensure they are stocking the biggest and fastest growing brands in this segment – and sales of our Signature Action brand are currently growing by 43% (IRI).” While advice generally is for retailers to keep in mind today’s value-seeking consumer, STG does recommend that

STL offers split-pack solution STL’s next-generation wholesale business management platform, Evo, offers an integrated Tobacco Track & Trace module that has now been updated with automatic split pack handling for half outers (5x packs of 20). This gives wholesalers the ability to scan individual pack trace codes at the till at the same time as they take the customer’s Economic Operator ID, resulting in a smoother checkout, seamless accounts reconciliation and automatic compliance reporting to HMRC. Taking advantage of this new flexibility, Parfetts has rolled out the new split-pack solution to seven depots already, and specialist alcoholic drinks wholesaler Soho Cash & Carry has installed it in its two Midlands depots. Guy Swindell, joint managing director at Parfetts, says: ‘It’s a real win-win – it’s made the process faster for our customers at the PoS and is less labour-intenGuy Swindell: ‘It’s a sive for us, while keeping us fully real win-win.’ compliant.” With an eye to similar seamless product handling and compliance in the future, Sub Ohm, a wholesaler and distributor of vaping supplies, has also recently installed STL Evo to replace paper-based processes. Evo has halved picking time, increased picking and receiving accuracy, streamlined order processing, offered better forecasting, and attracted new customers.


December 2023

wholesalers and their customers also bear in mind festive ‘splurging’. “Particularly as we head towards Christmas, many adult smokers will be looking to ‘trade up’ to a larger cigar such as our Henri Wintermans Half Corona to enjoy as part of their festive celebrations,” says Scarpetta. Henri Wintermans Half Corona is currently available in two limited-edition pack designs to increase on-shelf appeal. Republic Technologies (UK) is reaping the benefits of consumer demand for value in tobacco accessories. The category has seen year-on-year growth of 6.8% and the fastestgrowing sector is rolling papers.

‘The added bonus for stockists of the most popular brands is that tobacco accessories’ consumers are creatures of habit, with strong levels of repeat purchase’ Gavin Anderson, Republic Technologies’ sales & marketing director “Good quality products such as Swan and OCB are the preferred brand of choice for many of our new and existing RYO customers,” says Ricky Sharmer, a store director of Thrifty’s, which operates 13 outlets in the North West. “Placement and products are equally important,” he adds. “In our stores in particular, if the products have good visibility and there’s a high quality, well-stocked range that’s easy to shop, our customers are happy.” Gavin Anderson, sales & marketing director of Republic Technologies, adds: “As demand for factory-made cigarettes continues to decrease, tobacco accessories are very well placed to offer consumers a quality and value alternative, but they must be effectively displayed. “By offering tobacco accessories brands which consumers know and trust, including filters, papers and lighters, retailers can make the most of a category which is performing well in the face of a challenging economic headwind. Sales can also be enhanced by the effective use of eyecatching PoS,” adds Anderson.

[ TOBACCO & NGPS ] Republic Technologies offers retailers a range of counter display units to maximise the impact of its brands and signpost the wider category. “Our brands have a proven track record of delivering quality, affordability and, in relation to new products, all-important innovation, and shopper loyalty is high. The added bonus for stockists of the most popular brands is that tobacco accessories’ consumers are creatures of habit, with strong levels of repeat purchase,” says Anderson.

Heated tobacco and vaping Philip Morris Ltd continues to carry out its commitment to a smoke-free future, expanding its IQOS brand with a new heated tobacco device. The IQOS Iluma range consists of Iluma Prime, IQOS Iluma and Iluma One. Terea sticks are specifically designed for use with IQOS Iluma products and are available to wholesalers in nine variants. “While use of smoke-free products has increased, the progress of some products in helping smokers to transition away from cigarettes for good has stalled,” reports Duncan Cunningham, external affairs director. “Though vaping has made some headway into helping legal age smokers to move away from cigarettes, the data shows that it isn’t completely effective: between a third and half of all vapers in the UK are still dual-using with combustible tobacco products. “Further to this, while 83% of current adult smokers in the UK have tried vaping, more than four in 10 (43%) have

Failure to crack down on illegal tobacco At least nine local authorities nationwide did not start a single investigation into the sale of illegal or counterfeit tobacco products from 2018 to 2022, according to new research from JTI. By comparison, other councils have taken robust action to tackle the issue. Freedom of Information requests sent to 96 councils showed significant variation between the approaches taken by local councils. Councils in London (Kingston), Manchester (Rochdale), Wales (Isle of Anglesey County Council), and Scotland (East Dunbartonshire) were among those taking no action. A lack of action by these councils will lead to increased sales of illegal tobacco, which is often linked to organised crime, a blight on local communities and contributing to the large tobacco tax gap. This gap, as estimated by HMRC, is the difference between the amount of tax that should, in theory, be paid to HMRC, and what is actually paid. Since 2018, £9.3 billion in tax revenue has been lost in this way.


December 2023

Six-year sentence for smuggler An international tobacco smuggling operation has been exposed and a man from Newcastle-under-Lyme jailed for six years. Jatinder Bains smuggled more than 20 million illegal cigarettes into the UK, which were worth £7 million in evaded duty. An HMRC investigation led to the seizure of stock and the discovery of a chain that included Dutch criminal gangs and a network of haulage firms. “Cheap cigarettes come at a cost as they often fund other organised crime and illegal activity that causes real harm to our communities. Smugglers are criminals who don’t care who they sell to, including children,” said Kate Robert, assistant director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC. “We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco or alcohol to report it online.”

returned to smoking cigarettes (ASH),” says Cunningham. “It’s therefore important to ensure smokers are aware of all the credible, scientifically substantiated options available to them beyond vaping – including next-generation products like heated tobacco. More and more legal-age smokers are recognising this technology as a viable option, and as a result the category has grown by 400% in the last three years (Nielsen).” JTI has also introduced NPD in the heated tobacco category. Ploom X Advanced was launched in September in a bundle format that includes the Ploom X Advanced device, charger, USB cable, cleaning sticks and two packs of Evo tobacco sticks. “With demand for lowerpriced tobacco alternatives showing no signs of slowing, the competitively priced Ploom X Advanced bundle offers value for money within the heated tobacco category. As well as being more cost effective for consumers, heated tobacco sticks also offer higher margins to retailers when sold at RRP,” says Mark McGuinness, marketing director. Meanwhile, in the growing disposables vaping category, Imperial Tobacco recently added three new flavours to its blu bar range. Available with an rsp of £5.99, the new variants are Tropical Mix, Apple Ice and Mint Ice, which take the total flavour range up to 13 variants. “Collectively, these flavour characteristics, including apple, pineapple, mint and mango, accounted for 10.75% of all vaping sales over the last six months, with their share contribution almost doubling against the same period a year ago,” points out Tom Gully, head of consumer marketing UK & Ireland. “This really demonstrates the significant consumer demand for these particular flavour profiles.” The blu bar range offers a compact design and each CCM device provides up to 600 puffs.




700 PUFFS*


ULTIMATE PERFORMANCE NEWAND IMPROVED VUSE GO 700 To discuss, please contact your BAT Key Account Representative Vuse e-cigarettes contain nicotine which is addictive. Dispose of responsibly. 18+ only. This product contains nicotine and is addictive. For adult nicotine consumers only. For trade use only. This product should not be discarded in household waste but in the nearest WEEE collection bin. *Based on laboratory testing of newly manufactured product and may vary depending on individuals usage behaviour. For further information RQ KRZ ZH FDOFXODWH QXPEHU RI SXƁV SOHDVH YLVLW KWWS ZZZ YXVH FRP JE HQ SXƁFRXQW


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