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Bestway’s £100k gesture

Grant has set up as a retail and wholesale consultant.

Grant goes after a year After a year as managing director of Blakemore Wholesale, Russell Grant has left the company, which he joined 12 years earlier from Nisa-Today’s. He has set up as a wholesale and retail business consultant. Grant, who reported to group wholesale MD Sam Wilcox, was responsible for the West Midlands concern’s 14 cash & carries in membership of Landmark Wholesale and with the business’s retail chain. Six years ago he became Blakemore Wholesale’s commercial director, his previous roles including working for Victoria Wine, Bejam/Iceland and former wholesalers Amalgamated Foods and Watson & Philip. Coincidentally, Grant’s predecessor as Blakemore Wholesale MD, Craig O’Connor, had also spent only a year in the job. He left just over a year ago ‘to pursue other interests’. Group director Geoff Hallam has taken charge of the wholesale division, as well as maintaining his board responsibilities for the retail, property and design & shopfitting divisions. a Blakemore Wholesale (01902) 371515 10

February 2017

The Bestway Foundation has donated £100,000 to The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme. The presentation was made at Bestway Group’s London headquarters and attended by chief executive Zameer Choudrey CBE and Bestway Wholesale chairman Younus Sheikh. Choudrey commented: “We have worked with the scheme for over 20 years and take great pride in our gold partner status. We have

At the presentation (left to right): Martin Race, Bestway Wholesale MD; Zameer Choudrey CBE; Peter Westgarth, DoE Award chief executive; Younus Sheikh; and Dawood Pervez, Bestway Wholesale trading director.

experienced first hand the incredible work the charity does in preparing young

people for their future.” Bestway Group 020-8453 1234 a

Wing Yip dishes up... Oriental cash & carry operator Wing Yip has launched its Young Chef of the Year competition, open to 18 to 25year-olds. Following an initial paper entry, there will be a cook-off at University College Birmingham, on 5 April. One contestant will win a trip to Hong Kong, including work experience in some of the city’s top restaurants. Now in its fifth year, the contest is being judged by Michelin-starred chef Glynn

Purnell, MasterChef finalist Larkin Cen and president of the British Culinary Federation, Peter Griffiths. Entrants must submit a two-course Oriental menu idea, featuring a street food starter and a ‘high-end’ restaurant-style main course. Wing Yip director Brian Yip commented: “The competition provides young chefs with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in Oriental cooking.” a Wing Yip 0121-327 6618

Winner of last year’s contest Ray Steplin, who works at the House of Commons.

...so does Country Range Some 20 colleges in the UK qualified for the semi-finals of the Country Range student chef challenge, held in conjunction with the Craft Guild of Chefs. Split into three venues, the semi-finals took place this month at Loughborough College, Glasgow College and City of Liverpool College. Competitors – from among 67 who originally entered – had to create a three-course, three-cover


Getting down to work.

menu around the theme of ‘Healthy Gourmet Fine Dining’. Eight teams will take part in the final, which is being held on 15 March in the Live

Theatre of ScotHot in Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest food, drink and hospitality show. Country Range Group managing director Coral Rose said: “Interest was terrific for this year’s challenge and the standard of applications was incredible, which made the judging extremely tough. The judges at the final are in for a treat!” a Country Range Group (0845) 209 3777


Plastic surgery? The employee is entitled to statutory sick pay A: Yes, under the Employment Rights Act 1996, if an employee is “absent from work wholly or partly because of pregnancy or childbirth or on adoption leave”, the employee is entitled to be paid at the normal rate of pay for the length of statutory notice period.

Meet the HR expert Cate Ritchie, 121 HR Solutions Cate Ritchie is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development


Q: I have an employee who is having elective plastic surgery – this means she will be off work for two weeks. Do I have to pay her statutory sick pay?

An employee has phoned in to say that he has had to take time off because of unexpected illness of his partner. He says that he expects to be away for up to three days. What is the legal position?


An employee is entitled to take reasonable time off to deal with unexpected problems or emergencies involving dependants – that is, family members or others who depend on the employee. A dependant could be a spouse, partner (as in this case), child, parent, or someone who depends on an employee for care, such as an elderly neighbour. The leave can be taken, for example: a to deal with a breakdown in childcare and put longer-term care in place a if a dependant falls ill or is taken into hospital a to arrange or attend a funeral.

This time off is unpaid unless an employer is willing to give paid time off under the terms and conditions of employment. The right is to a reasonable amount of time off. Again, reasonable is not defined further in the statute – it will normally mean a day or two, but this will depend on individual circumstances.


We received a resignation from an employee who is on maternity leave. She will leave when her paid period ends. Is she still entitled to notice pay?

A: Yes, the normal rules apply. As long as her absence (after the first week in which she can self-certify her sickness) is covered by a fit note provided by her GP, her entitlement to statutory CCM sick pay is unaffected. 121 HR Solutions provides employers of all sizes with professional, cost-effective human resource support. If you would like further guidance about the issues covered in this article, or need advice on any other HR matter, contact Cate at cate@121hrsolutions.co.uk or phone (0792) 121 3890.

Courts apply stringent criteria to ‘self-employed’ status Following yet another employment tribunal focusing on the so-called ‘gig economy’, warnings are being issued to businesses to conduct a thorough review of the sub-contractors with whom they do business. The tribunal has ruled that a cycle courier should be classified as a worker and therefore receive holiday pay and the national living wage. The courier firm had treated the claimant as a self-employed freelancer. CitySprint, the firm that lost the case, has another 3,500 couriers in the UK – engaged on similar terms. Meanwhile, the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, which backed

the case, has a number of similar tribunal hearings scheduled during March and April against other courier companies. These cases herald an approach in the courts to apply stringent criteria to ‘self-employed’ status and must be regarded as a warning to firms engaging construction workers, hospitality staff and warehouse staff who are often given comparable contracts. The Government has announced that it will be conducting a six-month review into modern working practices and HMRC has established a new unit to investigate companies’ use of freelance and self-employed individuals.

Businesses must be confident that, if they have claims brought against them, they are able to justify why an individual has self-employed status. Cases such as this one highlight that it is not just about what the contract says, it is about what actually happens in practice. If self-employed workers are given uniforms and required to follow instructions similar to those imposed on employees, this is likely to persuade the court that they are workers like those on zero-hours contracts. There is widespread confusion regarding this area of law and there have been calls to the Government to provide better support for businesses.


February 2017



Thinking clever to drive growth James Russell, managing director of Blakemore Wholesale Distribution, explains how he is focusing on three areas to maximise the business’s potential. Kirsti Sharratt reports. lakemore Wholesale Distribution (BWD) may account for only 5.7% of the £1.3 billion turnover AF Blakemore business and employ just 85 of the total 8,200-strong workforce, but it has big ambitions and significant growth potential, according to its managing director James Russell. “There is plenty of scope to upsize within our operation,” he maintains. “We have now got it on to a higher plane by focusing on three core elements: cash & carry/wholesale supply, national accounts and vending. We have just been awarded a three-year contract with Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) to supply more than 220 hospital sites nationwide, and overall we are targeting 15% growth over the coming year.” Russell, an amiable and astute Aussie, previously worked on the other side of the fence with Gallaher (now JTI) and Britvic Soft Drinks. He then had a stint with discount wholesaler Rowan International before being appointed to his current role in January 2015. “Wholesale is a fantastic place to be,” he comments. “There are still loads of opportunities: we see suppliers’ views of how they want to approach


James Russell: ‘Proposition development and integrated logistics are the future.’

independent, symbol and managed outlets, and Blakemore Wholesale Distribution is well placed to capitalise on that.” Russell admits that he was surprised by the breadth and scale of the Blakemore business – which celebrates its centenary this year – at the point he joined the company. “It is much more diverse than I knew as a supplier, which is part of the attraction for me,” he says. “Blakemore offers end-to-end solutions for any kind of retailer – we cover absolutely everything – and I wanted to be part of its future.

BWD is reaching new heights by concentrating on core areas of its operation.


February 2017


“I think I have a well-rounded view of what’s important, from the customer’s and the consumer’s perspective, and I also have a solid idea of how the supply chain works.” Since his appointment, Russell has conducted an in-depth review of the BWD operation. “We decided to focus on the areas we are great at, set about getting the right people on the bus, set out our strategy, and now we are starting to execute successfully against that.” He adds: “We are keen to respect the boundaries between the two buying groups (Landmark and Spar) that we are part of, but where we are operating outside a buying group arrangement, say for the purchasing of eggs, cheese and milk, it makes sense for all the relevant Blakemore divisions to work together. There are also some product categories, like tobacco, where it is judicious to take a holistic view to ensure that we manage the message across our business and on to our customers.” BWD currently services 3,000 delivery points, covering multiples, independents, forecourts, vending operators, other wholesalers, educational establishments, and leisure and hospitality sites. Its main distribution centre is an 84,000 sq ft site in Great Bridge in the West Midlands. This is supported by AF Blakemore’s regional distribution centres in Willenhall, Talbot Green and, to a lesser extent, Wakefield and Hastings. Outside of the UK, BWD supplies retailers in Europe, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent through its export division, although Russell is quick to point out that this is not a primary focus: “We are not in the business of shipping vast amounts of bulk exports; we do it on a differentiated basis, which is where the fine foods side of AF Blakemore works well for us. Many of our customers are high-end retailers charging high-end prices, so they are willing to pay a premium for our service. We also work with Spar International to give Spar a British offering in some markets and an own-label offering in others.”


With accounts like Roadchef, BWD has switched its focus from being just the wheels to challenging them on what they do, and where and how they do it.

Russell shared with Cash & Carry Management his strategy for the three core elements of BWD’s operation: Cash & carry/wholesale supply For a decade now, BWD has been delivering on behalf of branded suppliers who do not have the economies of scale to distribute to all of Landmark’s members directly. Today, it represents several own-label suppliers as well as 18 branded manufacturers, including AB InBev and Concha y Toro, and it is now bringing on board other suppliers and servicing non-Landmark wholesalers, including Today’s members in London and the Midlands. Furthermore, it has implemented a new regional key account structure to look after these wholesaler customers. “This is not just about physical distribution and delivery but also about how we can add value, such as by working with suppliers to deliver NPD, and pulling their data with our data to identify where the gaps are and then unlocking those opportunities,” Russell explains. National accounts Impulse products like soft drinks, snacks and confectionery are being sold by BWD into places where they would not be found traditionally. These include Primark and Staples and, more recently, Hobbycraft, Peacocks and Halfords. “We are also working with hardware chains to put bulk packs of water, energy drinks and chocolate bars, for example, on to their trade counters for tradesmen. Again, this offers brand

owners incremental distribution,” says Russell. BWD is also looking to extend distribution further into forecourts, small retailers, non-symbol retailers and specialist stores by leveraging AF Blakemore’s entire infrastructure of distribution centres and delivery fleets, as well as knowledge gleaned from across the group’s eight other divisions. “Another part of our national accounts business,” says Russell, “is working with our customers to get a three-way view about what’s important within a range, using our own category insights, their category insights and suppliers’ category insights. That’s a key reason why BP extended its distribution contract with us in November last year – we were able to determine what works best in transient or local type stores.” It is in this respect particularly that Russell lauds the recent appointment (June 2016) of Raj Krishan, formerly of Today’s, Landmark, Nisa and My Local, as BWD’s sales director. “Raj has a wealth of knowledge from wholesale as well as retail and he’s a relentless challenger of our national distribution partners on their proposition and retail execution. “With accounts like Roadchef and BP, we have switched our focus from being just the wheels to really challenging them on what they do, and where and how they do it, and that is prompting some changes to ranging and approach that are proving beneficial for their businesses.”

Vending “I knew nothing about the vending market before I joined Blakemore,” admits Russell. “It offers a big opportunity – the retail value is about £1 billion, there are 400,000 vending machines in the UK, and Blakemore is one of the major wholesalers serving both national and regional vending operators.” He continues: “The vending market is going through a lot of change, driven by the demands of consumers and legislation – workplace and NHS sites need a better ‘for you’ offer and we are able to provide solutions by drawing on the experience we have within the Blakemore business. “We are also using our infrastructure to take out some of the road miles for vending operators by delivering product direct to the locations themselves, leaving the vending operators simply to put the product into the machines. They know that our core competence is distribution, whereas theirs is the complexity of managing and maintaining the machines. We are each playing to our strengths, and it’s working very well for us.” Summing up, Russell told Cash & Carry Management: “Proposition development and integrated logistics are the future for Blakemore Wholesale Distribution. These are exciting times.” CCM

Blakemore divisions Retail: Comprises 300 companyowned Spar stores. Trade Partners: Provides support for independent Spar customers. Logistics: Distributes to more than 1,000 Spar stores and supports the distribution needs of other divisions. Wholesale: Consists of 14 cash & carry/delivered wholesale branches. Wholesale Distribution: Services other wholesalers, national accounts and vending operators. Foodservice: Delivers to foodservice customers nationwide. Fresh Foods: Distributes fresh meat to UK and international customers. Design & Shopfitting: Offers design and project management to retailers. Fine Foods: Sells products from British producers.


February 2017



Radnor Hills brings family activity into play PROMOTION OF THE MONTH

Radnor Hills is running a ‘Get Active With Golf’ on-pack promotion on Radnor Fizz. Entrants enter a code found on the peel-off label into www.getactivewithgolf.co.uk for the chance to win a range of sporting experiences. Weekly prize draws and giveaways lead up to a grand draw to be held at the end of the promotion in May, when someone will receive an exclusive VIP invitation to meet the Senior Open Championship winner. The promotion launches on 27 February and runs on 15 million bottles of the school-compliant drinks range Radnor Fizz. The Welsh manufacturer is

Candy flavours

Wrigley is launching Skittles Fruits & Sours, an innovation in the sugar confectionery category. Combining flavours from Skittles Fruits and Skittles Crazy Sours, the new limited-edition packs are available from this month in 55g singles (rsp 49p, outers of 36), 125g hanging bags (rsp £1, outers of 12) and 174g sharing pouches (rsp £1.28, outers of 14), with PMPs for the 55g and 125g packs. TV advertising, digital activity and in-depot PoS material will drive awareness. Also new from Wrigley is Starburst Very Berry variant, in 45g singles (rsp 49p, 24 to an outer), 150g hanging bags (rsp £1) and 192g sharing bags (rsp £1.30), both in outers of 12. Off-shelf cardboard activation is available for cash & carries. The Wrigley Co Ltd (01189) 317030 14

February 2017

the official water supplier at the 2017 Senior Open Championship, and is extremely proud of its heritage and growing success – it has increased its production capacity to 400 million bottles this year. The Radnor Fizz promotion is aimed at helping school caterers boost their soft drink sales and the prizes are familybased experiences. These include family tickets to the Senior Open Championship at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club, masterclass sessions with golfing legends, US Kids junior golf clubs, Golf Foundation Streetgolf sets and access to ‘Get into Golf’ family days. Radnor Hills (01547) 530220

Biscuit NPD Innovation from the number one sweet biscuit brand from pladis comes this year with McVitie’s Digestives Thins, available in wholesale from March. The launch is supported by a £4.6 million integrated marketing campaign with TV advertising, digital and social media, and shopper activation. McVitie’s Digestive Thins have been developed to attract a younger shopper, providing smaller but indulgent rewards. They are available in three variants: Milk Chocolate Cappuccino, Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate. The 180g packs have an rsp of £1.79. Descibed as McVitie’s hero NPD for 2017, the new range continues the brand’s commitment to unlocking opportunities for growth in the sweet biscuit category. pladis 020-8234 5000

Animal activity

Mondelez International has introduced new Mint and Peanut Butter variants of its Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo bars. Cases contain 15 x 120g bars (rsp £1.49). The launch is backed by a £3 million marketing spend aiming to recruit new young adults to the tablets category. Further joint activity for Cadbury is a three-year partnership with the Premier League to expand its community programme, ’Health for Life’. Tailored modules will be created to extend the programme’s reach and inspire young people in schools across the country.

Jack Link’s is currently running an integrated six-figure marketing campaign for Peperami to support last year’s launches of the Tex-Mex flavour and snack pack format. A partnership deal with Comedy Central is aimed at the brand’s target audience of 16-34 year-old males, while a campaign featuring the Peperami Animal involves ads on Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky running for three weeks from January. Sampling will also be taking place from the Peperami Pork Truck until August. To increase consumer engagement, Comedy Central and Peperami are offering a chance to win a trip to New York through a Peperami branded competition page on the Comedy Central website.

Mondelez International (08702) 400861

Jack Link’s (0870) 820 0316

Joyful unions



Sugar cutbacks

Time for Cake

Brand refresh

Perfetti Van Melle has two innovative launches from its Fruittella brand. Sugar-free Fruittella Fruit Foams and Fruit Gums are sweetened with stevia. The packaging is designed for the adult snacking market, with the sugarfree message delivered prominently on-pack. The Fruit Gums and Fruit Foams come in 90g and 80g pouches respectively, both with an rsp of £1.19, in cases of 12. Also new are reduced sugar Fruittella, supported by a £1.5 million marketing spend. The 30% Less Sugar Fruittella 120g resealable pouches (case size seven, rsp £1.19) come in summer fruits and strawberry variants. Perfetti Van Melle (01753) 442100

Lomond’s Scottish bakery, Cake, is launching a retail range into the UK to offer high-quality treats for shoppers, following its success in foodservice. Its 220g Loaf Cakes are available in ginger, lemon, madeira and fruit variants (rsp £1), and Mini Bite Pots come in Milk Caramel Shortcake, Chocolate Crispy, Chocolate Crunch and Yoghurt & Cranberry (rsp £1). Also available are Luxury Rocky Road and Raspberry & Coconut Slice three-packs (rsp £1.60) and Ultimate Caramel Crispy, Millionaire Shortbread, Yoghurt & Cranberry Slice, Triple Chocolate Delight and Puff Candy fourpacks (rsp £2). Lomond’s/Cake 0141-353 6777

Continuing its burst of activity in the independent channel, challenger brand Boost is rolling out a striking redesign across its portfolio of more than 40 SKUs. The logo has been updated to give a more contemporary feel, while ‘special offer’ has been removed from the price-marked packs to highlight the credentials of Boost as a long-term value proposition. The branding will be featured on the new Boost Drinks website, launching in the spring. “Having celebrated our 15th anniversary in 2016, we felt the time was right to review our packaging, bringing it right up to date,” explains managing director Simon Gray. Boost Drinks (0113) 240 3666

Danish design

Personal touch

Healthy eating

Carlsberg UK continues to set its sights on millennials with limited-edition packaging for its 3.8% abv København Collection, designed to encourage drinkers to trade up. The packs are available in the offtrade until September in a variety of formats, including a new 330ml bottle, and are designed to celebrate the brand’s Danish heritage. Part of the wider Carlsberg brand marketing campaign, the new look will benefit from the £15 million spend incorporating media and integrated consumer activity launching in April. Carlsberg UK (01604) 668866

Nestlé is running a promotion across a range of KitKat varieties, including fourfinger and Chunky singles and multipacks, and two-finger biscuits. Consumers can win a personalised, gift-boxed KitKat four-finger milk chocolate pack. They need to enter a code from their promotional pack online; winners can then upload a photo and personalise text. A total of 1,000 packs are up for grabs daily until 29 March. The campaign is supported with a £1 million media spend focusing on digital and social media.

Mars Petcare has launched its pet ‘superfood’ brand Perfect Fit. The new range, available for cats and dogs, has been developed with Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition. The packaging has been designed to allow pet owners to easily identify the correct product for their pet, and the food has been carefully researched to be highly palatable, while offering targeted benefits to address common diagnoses by vets that can be controlled through nutrition. The product range for cats is available now, with the dog range to follow. Mars Petcare (0800) 738800

Nestlé Confectionery 020-8686 3333


February 2017



High-end service delivered As John Mower & Co celebrates its 70th birthday, it is utilising developments in technology to enhance its customer service levels even further. By Siobhan Kielty. y always putting the customer first, dry foods wholesaler and importer John Mower & Co has gone from strength to strength since its beginnings in London’s Berwick Street 70 years ago. Now operating from 15,000 sq ft of warehousing in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, plus a satellite depot in North Weald, the company services a customer base of high-end restaurants, hotels, bars and delicatessens. It employs 45 staff, who are active night and day, six days a week, to ensure that its reputation for quality, reliability and service is maintained.


Today’s award As well as expanding its premises and fleet over the years, Mowers has kept up with industry developments and was awarded Best Foodservice Operator of the Year by Today’s in 2015. The family-run company is headed by managing director Roy Tweed, with his wife Maureen also a director. Son John is general manager while daughters Angie O’Connor and Caroline Peskett are sales & marketing manager and company secretary & head of finance respectively. Roy was actually born on the site of Essex Flour & Grain in London

Angie O’Connor: ‘Next-day delivery puts huge pressure on us but it is about attaining an excellent level of service.’

in 1945 and worked there (with his father and two uncles) from 1962 to 1974, when he bought into J Mower & Co. At that time, it was located in Soho; it later moved to Stoke Newington, then Tottenham, before settling in the current Hertfordshire location in 2005. Customer service is at the forefront of Mowers’ success, says O’Connor: “Customers want good products and good service, and we try really hard to get orders out quickly and correctly. We take orders up until midnight for nextday delivery by telephone, email and fax. That puts a huge pressure on us but it is about attaining an excellent level of

Mowers’ fleet consists of mainly 7.5-tonne lorries, but it also uses 3.5-tonne vans to get around the trickier parts of London.


February 2017


service – some chefs do like to place an order at midnight for the next day and that service is there for them.” The fleet consists of mainly 7.5tonne lorries, but it also uses 3.5-tonne vans to get around the trickier parts of London. “As the years have progressed we’ve gone further and further out, but we are still a regional supplier,” O’Connor reports. Mowers’ membership of Today’s gives it enhanced buying potential, and John Tweed now serves on the group’s foodservice committee. The wholesaler’s drivers also distribute Today’s bi-monthly Take Stock magazine to its customers. Also allowing Mowers to offer competitive prices are its off-site storage units, used to keep up to 400 pallets of extra stock, as this enables the company to buy bigger volumes and run a thriving dry goods import business. “We’ve been established for 70 years so we’ve got good connections. Roy and Tony Noonan – who does the day-today buying – have excellent relationships with suppliers and like to work with them to get good deals,” O’Connor explains.

Savvy strategy The availability of space for bulk buying also allows Mowers to plan strategically to its customers’ advantage. “There have been a good few examples in the last year where we’ve decided to buy in a large volume of a product before the price goes up,” she says. “We generally hold our prices for some time, which is easier for dry stores, and we have to bite the bullet if something changes in that time. Customers these days want to know what their costs are – they can’t keep a handle on them if prices are constantly going up and down so it’s better if we, as their wholesaler, take the hit.” When future price increases are inevitable, Mowers will alert its customers to give them the opportunity to stock up, and the company’s focus on

[ IN FOCUS ] providing a high level of service extends to its communications strategy, which O’Connor is currently developing. “Over the years we’ve been more reactive to customers than proactive, so we’re trying to be better at communications. I’m continually updating our website to allow customers to order through that.” A big development that Mowers is currently rolling out is an app for easy ordering. “Customers can see their account, a full product list and whether there’s an order on the system waiting to be delivered, all through their phones,” she says.

Easier ordering The advancement is being trialled by selected customers, and has so far been well received. If this way of ordering becomes standard, not only will the workload will be reduced in the office as orders will be live in the system straight away, but also customers can easily check their orders. “It will be easier for chefs to use the app rather than leaving a message on an answering machine, which can be difficult when they’re calling from a busy restaurant,” O’Connor points out. While personal service is still a priority, customers are welcoming and requiring online developments from wholesalers. “There’s been a shift towards technology, and people have to be online, for instance, in areas such as health and safety. Meeting our health

and safety obligations is quite easy – there’s no temperature control for us as we only deal with dry goods – but customers still need to know that their delivery is coming from a clean, safe environment,” she explains. “We also advise our customers on meeting the legal requirement to provide allergy information.” Technology is also playing a part in ensuring that communication is offered in the form that customers want, when they want it. “We’ve come through the ‘silly season’ – it’s so busy in December – and now we are getting our price files up to date,” she states. “January and February is a good time in sales to try to get out and see customers. However, it is quite tricky meeting chefs because they’re in service and so busy, so I make sure I’m always accessible by email and phone.” Mowers is also moving forward with technology in the warehouse, where it is bringing in hand-held scanners. “Human interaction will always be needed because people essentially like to communicate with each other, but technology will help us to pick and get the order out more quickly,” she says. The wholesaler is also considering the place of digital media as a marketing tool – O’Connor is keen to explore the potential to inform customers of supplier activity and strengthen relationships between its customers and suppliers: “Social media is the way forwards,” she maintains. The platform will form an

important part of this year’s marketing strategy overhaul. The promotional side is one that O’Connor is turning her creativity to this year: “It’s difficult to make dry stores sexy!” she laughs. Along with the sampling and free magazine that Mowers already offers, there are plans to drive engagement with customers through promotional events as well as social media. Mowers is keen to ensure that, busy though chefs are, they have a chance to keep up with news and trends. Consumers’ tastes continue to evolve and chefs’ orders are reflecting this. “People are always going to want table salt and ketchup, but other food items are becoming more popular as the UK embraces world cuisine; items such as coconut milk are now a staple in dry stores,” she reports.

Tailored terms

As chefs’ orders reflect consumers’ changing tastes, Mowers is stocking a wider selection of products in its warehouse in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire.

The explosion of pop-up restaurants has also brought new customers, and Mowers provides tailored account terms to reflect the temporary nature of the establishments. “Pop-ups are a great idea; setting up a restaurant is hugely expensive. From a consumer point of view, it’s lovely to go to food festivals and events and get a chance to sample so many dishes,” she comments. While technology is a driving force for Mowers in its 70th year, the company’s values remain unchanged and at the core is providing quality products and service so that its customers can provide great food for people to enjoy. There lies the measure of its continuing CCM success.


February 2017





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Profile for Cash & Carry Management

C&C Management Feb 17  

C&C Management Feb 17