SPOTLIGHT ON LUCY BARTLETT OF ELM VALLEY FOODS
THE BUSINESS MAGAZINE FOR CASH & CARRY/DELIVERED WHOLESALERS
Halewoodâ€™s Peter Wells urges wholesalers to take omni-channel approach
Delivering change: forging ahead through numerous challenges and further consolidation
4Dairy 4PMPs 4Focus on IT 4Vodka *IRI UK Aloe Vera Drinks, Retail Sales, MAT to 20.05.17 (78.8% Market Share)
This month don’t miss... 06 6
Bestway wins the Swan ‘Wholesaler of the Year’ award.
James Bielby highlights the FWD’s successes in the past year.
IT companies help wholesalers to run a more efficient operation.
ESSENTIALS 05 06 18
Editor’s Comment Industry News Products & Promotions
FWD Conference The FWD continues to address matters of concern to the trade, while wholesalers use all resources available to help them stay ahead.
Spotlight featuring Lucy Bartlett, executive chairman of Elm Valley Foods.
Supplier Strategy Halewood Wines & Spirits urges C&Cs to offer a ‘good, better, best’ licensed drinks range.
Cambridge graduate and former analyst Lucy Bartlett on ‘liking Elm Valley Foods so much that she bought the company’!
Product of the month
Employment Law HR expert Cate Ritchie advises employers on adopting a social media policy for their employees.
CATEGORY INSIGHT 20 28 30 32
Price-marked Packs Vodka Update Dairy Update Information Technology
Price-marked packs: the pros and cons for wholesalers’ customers.
A new look for Grace Foods’ Aloe Vera soft drinks range.
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[ EDITOR’S COMMENT ]
Effectiveness of own-label any millions are spent annually on TV commercials to persuade the public to buy a particular product. Yet quantifying the effectiveness of these campaigns is a bit of a grey area because increased sales can be generated by all sorts of factors, not just pricey ads. Like most other viewers, I suspect, I can’t wait for the three-minute slot to end before I can get back to watching Coronation Street, or some other programme. So it could be argued that this TV expenditure by the major manufacturers could be put to better use. But one small screen advertisement made me sit up and take notice the other day – for supermarket chain Morrisons. It was not making price comparisons with the other retail multiples, but championing its own-label range. Despite the power of leading brands, in-house selections play a major role in creating greater income. Something sticks in my mind about Sainsbury’s own brand, years ago, accounting for something like 50% of the company’s sales. With certain product categories, it was even more than that. In the C&C/wholesale sector, returns like this are way off the mark – probably more like single-figure percentages. So it’s an interesting development for Bestway to announce that it is doing away with its long-established Best-in
SPOTLIGHT ON LUCY BARTLETT OF ELM VALLEY FOODS
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EDITORIAL Managing Editor Kirsti Sharratt News Editor Mervyn Gilbert Features Editor Siobhan Kielty ADVERTISING AND MARKETING Publishing Director Martin Lovell Media Sales Manager Clare Phillips 4,572 July 2015 – June 2016 Audit Bureau of Circulations Printed by Bishops Printers ISSN 1352-254X All media rates, feature lists and deadlines can be accessed online by visiting: cashandcarrymanagement.co.uk
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label and replacing it with the best-one name. Why? Officially, the company is upgrading the range and, in doing so, has chosen the ‘new’ title to spearhead the drive. Over the coming months, best-one – the name that appears over the doors of Bestway’s leading retail customers – will be emblazoned on something like 500 products, with price-marking playing a major role in driving sales. Cash & Carry Management understands that, at present, own-label represents just 8% of the C&C/wholesaler’s retail turnover; the label change plus the use of improved quality ingredients, could see this rocket to 30%. How acceptable the items will be to the company’s many thousands of patrons – as well as the retailers’ own customers – remains to be seen. Bestway will also, like other operators, have been suffering from the knock-on effect of lower cigarette sales among its retail customers. Situations like this call for a serious marketing rethink. And while the company has taken measures to redress the balance by developing its catering business, this will take time. Adopting the best-one name for its vast own-label range could be the best way forward.
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[ INDUSTRY NEWS ]
OBE for Wouhra
Dr Jason Wouhra (above), of Landmark Wholesale member East End Foods, was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Wouhra is a director and company secretary of the family-owned Birminghambased business, which has a turnover of £220 million. He is also chairman of the West Midlands branch of the Institute of Directors and of the Aston University Development Board. a East End Foods 0121-553 1999
Silver a-plenty at CRG 25th Country Range Group’s 13 members ordered goods to the value of £2.75 million from invited suppliers at its 25th anniversary event, held at the Telford International Centre. The celebrations included a trade exhibition, an ‘It’s a Knockout’ competition and a gala dinner. The trade show saw over 108 foodservice brands on display, while interactive demonstrations were held for more than 260 delegates representing the group’s membership.
Coral Rose: ‘Orders were nearly double last year’s.’
Following the exhibition, 22 teams, comprising 220 members and suppliers, took part in the contest, wearing costumes and keeping to the
theme of the TV show. The gala dinner was hosted by comedian Brian Conley. Reflecting on the event, CRG managing director Coral Rose said: “It’s fitting that this year’s annual event was an absolute, all-round knockout on all levels. “The exhibition offered huge value to suppliers as an arena to demonstrate products to our members. Orders were nearly double those taken last year.” a Country Range Group (0845) 209 3777
A chip off the new block JJ Food Service has added a frozen ‘Chippy Chip’ to its own-label range. Group general manager Terry Larkin said: “Prepping your own potatoes is an ideal way to make traditional
chips, but it can also be expensive and time-consuming. Our customers are being more open-minded about new ways of doing things. Our new chip is a perfect alternative or ‘back up’ to
freshly cut chips.” The crispy texture chips have been available at a promotional price of £5.79 (4 x 2.27kg). a JJ Food Service (0843) 309 0991
Swanderful for C&C/wholesalers Bestway won the Swan ‘Wholesaler of the Year’ prize presented by Republic Technologies (UK) – one of several handed out at the tobacco accessories supplier’s annual event, recognising cash & carry and wholesale partners for their effort and commitment throughout the year. Gavin Anderson, Republic Technologies’ general sales manager, said: “Despite what has been a challenging year for the tobacco market, our cash & carry and wholesale partners have gone above and beyond to help drive brand awareness and in-depot sales. We’re pleased to be recognising 06
Bestway’s Alex Robson (centre) with Republic Technologies UK national account managers Steven Hughes (left) and Ying Man.
their achievements for the second year running.” Alex Robson, category manager for tobacco at Bestway, commented: “The tobacco accessories category is critical to retailers as many smokers have switched from cigarettes to RYO as the
price of cigarettes continues to escalate. “At Bestway, we worked closely with Republic Technologies on the Swan brand to improve the retail range and availability in depot, as well as offering customers advice on merchandising
principles and managing the category, all of which resulted in double-digit growth for the brand. “This proves there is still major headroom for growth when suppliers work with us in a collaborative manner.” Other winners were: a Best Customer Activity: Dhamecha Cash & Carry a Outstanding Depot: Thames Cash & Carry a Symbol Retailer: Stans Superstore a Symbol Multiple: J&J Wilson a Depot Manager: Danny Greenwood, Batleys, Bradford a Discounter: Poundworld. a Republic Technologies (UK) (01494) 492230
[ INDUSTRY NEWS ]
£3 million on new cold store Bristol-based foodservice operator Charles Saunders has spent £3 million on a new cold store in the city. The company, a member of buying group Fairway Foodservice, will move into the new building in the autumn. Operating from two depots, it last year had a £20 million turnover. The 46,000 sq ft premises are in the Yate area of Bristol and were formerly occupied by Brakes Group. Darren Gaulton, managing director of Charles Saunders, said: “Due to expansion of our product range and delivery areas, we outgrew our current site and were seeking to relocate. We are now planning further investment in the building.”
Managing director Darren Gaulton (centre) with Andrew Ridler (left), of Ridler King, which advised Charles Saunders on the deal, and Giles Weir, of JLL, which represented Brakes.
The foodservice operator also recently added nine eco-friendly vehicles to its fleet, bringing the number to 35. Designed by the firm’s transport manager Colin Bardsley, they have separate
compartments, allowing chilled fish, ambient goods, disposable foods and chemical products to be carried safely in the same vehicle. a Charles Saunders Foodservice (0117) 954 1366
Own-label revisions Fairway Foodservice and Country Range Group have made own-label changes. Fairway has redeveloped its added-value chicken range and added six new lines: southern fried chicken goujons, plain breaded chicken goujons, tempura battered chicken fillets and chicken bites, and battered chicken steaks and nuggets. CRG has launched honey & mustard dressing, citrus & white balsamic dressing, ranch dressing and peri peri sauce. Also new are two ice cream varieties: honeycomb and salted caramel ripple. a Fairway Foodservice (01422) 319100 a Country Range Group (0845) 209 3777
Waste plan rapped The Scottish Wholesale Association has expressed its disappointment at the Scottish Government’s decision to ask its environment agency, Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS), to undertake further modelling on deposit return systems. Figures from ZWS show that retailers north of the border will face start-up costs of at least £40.7 million if a deposit return scheme is introduced. This figure was arrived at by ‘scaling down’ the set-up costs of a deposit return scheme in Germany. SWA executive director Kate Salmon said: “We are disappointed that the Scottish Government has decided to move to the next stage of modelling potential schemes. We are convinced
that a deposit return scheme would involve significant and unnecessary costs and disruption for wholesalers, retailers, manufacturers and consumers.” She added: “Zero Waste Scotland’s own figures show that the disruption of the existing kerbside recycling system would result in only marginal benefit of £3 million to £6 million in terms of direct reduced litter costs for local authorities. “We believe the additional costs in terms of extra warehousing space, administration, hygiene issues involved in back-hauling waste products and the potential for fraud mean the actual costs to business have been under-estimated.” a SWA 0131-556 8753 www.cashandcarrymanagement.co.uk
‘Get a move on’ Booker tells CMA Booker has approached the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) to accelerate the process of its proposed £3.7 billion merger with Tesco, which was announced towards the end of January. A statement from the wholesaler says: ”Following the continued constructive dialogue and further to the commencement of the CMA’s phase 1 review on 30 May, we have now requested that the CMA uses the ‘fast track’ process to allow it to move more quickly to examining the merger through a detailed phase 2 process.”
As this issue of Cash & Carry Management went to press, it was expected that the CMA would be releasing details of a speeded-up phase 2 procedure. In the 12 weeks to 16 June, Booker’s like-for-like group sales rose by 4.2%, with non-tobacco income growing by 9.6% and tobacco down by 7.9%, reflecting the range of government impositions on the trade. Chief executive Charles Wilson referred to the benefits of favourable weather and the late Easter. a Booker Group (01933) 371000
Price deal extended Spar south-west regional distributor Appleby Westward announced at its annual trade show in Exeter that it is to extend the lower wholesale price initiative to its retailers following a successful launch last year. Efficiencies and cost savings carried out in 2016 enabled Appleby Westward to offer an overall reduction in the cost of goods to retailers of £650,000, helping them to be more competitive with milk and beers, wines & spirits. Managing director Mike Boardman said that, in company-owned stores alone,
the EDLP (Every Day Low Price) initiative had seen milk sales increase by 10% in the year, with wine sales up by 37.5% and beer by 8.5%. He added that the company was also offering a new rebate on Spar brand and ranges of protein and ‘freefrom’ products – potentially worth £600,000 to participating retailers over a year. “This effectively represents an investment of £1.25 million by us in the cost of goods over the last 12 months,” said Boardman. a Appleby Westward (01752) 854000
Bestway changes own-label range Bestway Wholesale is replacing its Best-in ownlabel range with the “more shopper friendly” best-one brand – the name used for its higher-end retail club members. The Best-in selection, with over 500 products across the ambient and chilled grocery sectors, will be phased out over the coming months. Ed Smeaton, director of trading for grocery, told Cash & Carry Management: “Bestin has done a fantastic job in creating a value alternative for shoppers and a marginenhancing range for retailers. “However the market is constantly evolving and it’s time to give our customers an own-label brand that resonates more with shoppers, who now trust own-label as much as they do branded products and are looking for both quality and value.” Smeaton added: “The main thing for our customers is that we provide quality products with great margins and highly competitive price points that allow them to compete with other channels, such as multiples and discounters.” Smeaton cited a recent Which? report that put the best-one brand as its
favourite convenience symbol group. The rebrand, he said, is not just cosmetic, with many of the best-one products said to have better quality ingredients and taste. Price-marked packs will be available, with an average POR of 30%. Initially, the best-one design will be seen on leading sellers like biscuits, soft drinks, snacks and grocery staples and will cover 150 products, with all Best-in lines rebranded to best-one by the end of the year. Smeaton said that coffee – one of the first product categories to make the change – achieved an early 32% average sales increase, with instant up by 34%, rich roast 50%, and freeze dried 21%. Bestway also plans to introduce a premium ownlabel range – best-one Inspired – next month. It will initially consist of 15 items. a Bestway Wholesale 0208453 1234
Takeaway incentive JJ Food Service has launched Tag My Local, an initiative encouraging diners to nominate a local independent restaurant or takeaway from which they would choose to order online. In return, respondents
will receive £20 off their first takeaway once the site is up and running with FOODit, a JJ company. The offer is available to all, not just trades people. a JJ Food Service (0843) 309 0991
[ INDUSTRY NEWS ]
Ninth for Dhamecha
Pradip Dhamecha: confident the Birmingham unit will be as successful as other sites.
Dhamecha Foods has paid ‘several million pounds’ to develop a site in the Smethwick area of Birmingham for its ninth cash & carry. The plan is to start trading by the end of the year. The 70,000 sq ft modified depot, with around 75 staff, will stock a wide range of grocery products, confectionery, beers, wines & spirits, toiletries and tobacco for convenience retailers and caterers in the West Midlands. Chief executive Pradip Dhamecha said: “We have been operating cash & carries in the London area for over 40 years, with seven branches in and around the M25. “In 2015 we opened our first branch outside of the capital – in Leicester, our first foray into the Midlands area. It’s trading well. “We are confident the Birmingham unit will replicate the success of the Leicester branch, as well as those in the London area.” Dhamecha, with an annual turnover of £703 million, is the largest member of Today’s Group, headed by acting MD John Schofield. a Dhamecha Foods 0208903 8181 10
Ambitious three-year plan With supplier support, Blakemore Wholesale is aiming to double its catering and on-trade sales over the next three years. The plan was unveiled at a briefing session at the Wolverhampton head office. Managing director James Russell, who opened the event, attended by representatives of 40 key manufacturers and members of the company’s leadership team, said: “This project will establish a comprehensive catering solution across Blakemore Wholesale. It will also harness the full power of the wider group, including Fine Foods, Fresh Foods and Foodservice.” He added: “It was fantastic to see the level of engagement and support by suppliers. The challenging question-and-answer session reflected a willingness to understand and work with the group.” The event highlighted the
company’s expertise in butchery and ability to source regional food and drink. The on-trade and catering concept was tested this month at the Cardiff depot; the roadshow is then moving to the Bangor, Penrith and Gateshead sites over the summer. Britvic Soft Drinks’ national account manager Helen Thorne said: “I think that
Blakemore’s approach to the catering and on-trade is very creative and totally relevant. It reflects the market dynamics and absolutely plays to their group strengths.” Other suppliers represented at the event included Typhoo, Coca-Cola, Heinz and Thorntons. Also attending were directors of Landmark Wholesale. a Blakemore Wholesale (01902) 371530
Butchery development manager Gerwyn Harries discusses the plans with suppliers at the briefing session.
Under Sainsbury’s control? As this issue of Cash & Carry Management went to press, rumours persisted that Sainsbury was preparing a £130 million takeover bid for Nisa. The Co-op and Morrisons are also understood to have been among those showing an interest in the Scunthorpe-based wholesaler and symbol retail chain, which has undergone a chequered existence since splitting from Today’s Group in 2011. Two years ago, Nick Read was recruited as chief executive and Robin Brown became the new chief financial officer –
appointments that helped to stabilise the business. Nisa, which is in the middle of a three-year development programme, recently hired bankers to advise on its strategy, resulting in a £120 million refinancing of the company.
Last year sales rose by 2.3% to £1.25 billion after adjustments were made for losing the Costcutter account. Pre-tax profit was £2.8 million – an £8.1 million turnaround from the previous 12 months. The target is for £2 billion sales by 2019. The number of stores serviced is almost 3,500. Read, who joined the company from Thomas Cook and was previously a Tesco and Aldi director, said the five-year loan facility was an improvement on the previous financial arrangement. a Nisa Retail (01724) 282028
[ INDUSTRY NEWS ]
Further expansion for Birchall Less than three years after moving to larger premises, Birchall Foodservice has begun a further expansion programme. At the start of 2015, it more than doubled the size of its Burnley headquarters when it purchased Cobalt House. However, with the business growing faster than predicted, it has now bought a 40,000 sq ft connecting site, which will take the combined land to 104,000 sq ft. The two-acre plot currently houses an obsolete office/workshop complex, which will be demolished to make way for a warehouse expansion, with 20 staff added to the present 100.
Fife first in chef contest Fife College won the 2017 Brakes Scotland Student Chef Team Challenge live cook-off final, held at City of Glasgow College. It defeated five other teams, with City of Glasgow College coming second and SRUC Elmwood in Cupar third. Entrants to this year’s competition had to create a three-course, four-cover menu with a Scottish food and drink theme. The winners’ prizes include three days of work experience at Gleneagles. John McLintock, operations director at Brakes Scotland, said: “I encourage all students to get involved in competitions like the Student Chef Challenge as they help to replicate the pressure the students will experience when they move into the workplace.” a Brakes Group (01233) 206000
MD Justin Birchall (left) with father Colin on site.
In the short term, the surrounding land will help ease site congestion for visitor parking, along with the expanding delivery fleet. Managing director Justin Birchall said: “Having more than doubled our warehouse
space by relocating to this site only 30 months ago, we hadn’t predicted that our growth at this stage would be as big as it is. “The adjacent site becoming available was extremely fortuitous. We are determined to develop this location into a productive facility benefiting the company, its employees and the community.” The current turnover of the Country Range Group member is £24 million. In addition to Burnley, it has depots in Wrexham, Durham, Sheffield and Stafford. a Birchall Foodservice (01282) 429446
AF Blakemore has begun the roll-out of a new livery on its distribution fleet – part of a drive to standardise branding across the group logistics operation, covering Spar, Foodservice, Fine Foods, Wholesale and Wholesale Distribution. The design features imagery of food and drink deliveries destined for retail, wholesale and foodservice customers. Blakemore is also, for the first time, offering suppliers the chance to purchase advertising space on the transport. The vehicles are also
being used to promote the company’s own messages, such as 100-year anniversary communications and recruitment campaigns. Group logistics director Andy Grinsell said: “This new livery across multiple AF Blakemore divisions reflects a more consistent and aligned approach to the way we do business across our logistics operation. “With a fleet of more than 300 vehicles travelling across the UK each day, it is a great opportunity to promote the Blakemore brand and our company values as well as being a very effective means of advertising for suppliers.” During the next six months, the new livery will be trialled on 40 vehicles. It will then be rolled out to the rest of the fleet over the next two years. a AF Blakemore (01902) 366066
Let them eat cake! Landmark Wholesale has launched a range of frozen cakes and traybakes for foodservice operators under its Caterers Kitchen brand. The supplier is Cake, the Glasgow-based bakery owned by Lomond – The Wholesale Food Co, a group member.
The 15-strong selection includes lemon drizzle, coffee & walnut and chocolate fudge cakes, milk caramel shortcake, puff candy and cherry bakewell (pictured). “The coffee shop, garden centre and café sector is the fastest growing in foodservice and shows no sign of slowing, so introducing a range to satisfy demand in this area was an obvious choice,” said Landmark’s foodservice controller Les Mohammed. Lomond – The Wholesale Food Co has also launched two sandwich concepts to help caterers produce foodto-go options. ‘Eat Around the World’ comprises 14 different sandwiches, including The Aussie and Posh Bacon & Egg. ‘Most Wanted’ is a range of 15 filled baguettes (rsp £2.75) featuring classic combinations like Tuna Mayo and Gammon & Cheddar Ploughmans. Both ranges come with step-by-step guides on how to put the sandwiches together. a Landmark Wholesale (01908) 255300 a Lomond – The Wholesale Food Co 0141-353 6777
[ FWD CONFERENCE] him! Wholesale Award Winners 2017
Favourite Wholesaler for Point of Purchase (PoP) Communication: P&H Favourite Wholesaler for Category Advice: Bidfood Favourite Wholesaler for Fresh Produce: Booker Favourite Wholesaler for Availability: Bidfood Favourite Wholesaler for Customer Service: Blakemore Favourite Delivered Wholesaler (Retail): Blakemore Favourite Delivered Wholesaler (Foodservice): Booker Favourite Cash & Carry (Retail): Parfetts Favourite Cash & Carry (Foodservice): Khanjra Clockwise from top: FWD chairman Andrew Selley; FWD CEO James Bielby; JJ Food Service COO Mushtaque Ahmed.
Who’s ready for change? St George’s Park in Burton upon Trent once more saw suppliers, wholesalers and industry experts rubbing shoulders as nearly 300 delegates attended the annual FWD summit.
he title of the FWD conference, ‘Delivering Change’, could not have been more apt in the midst of the current political mayhem. A year on from last year’s referendum and fallout, little has improved in terms of clarity and direction – Brexit is bewildering and politics appears to be a game of musical chairs in which no one’s entirely sure who’s playing. The FWD chairman and Bidvest Foodservice CEO Andrew Selley believes that issues need a positive approach in what he described as “a very interesting and challenging time for wholesale and retail” to make opportunities out of unknowns and drive the channel forward. “We are operating in a resilient industry; we must never forget that,” he said. “All we say in our business is that we have to make sure we are lean and nimble, because when change 12
comes, it’s going to come fairly quickly and we’ve got to be able to react quickly.” Concerns such as food inflation, falling consumer confidence, a millennial-driven market, an ageing driver population, the apprenticeship levy, National Living Wage and pension auto enrolment have all brought challenges to wholesale: “Many of them we can overcome by collaborating, as well as competing,” he advised. This year, issues that include Brexit, fuel prices and the Tesco/Booker and proposed Sainsbury’s/Nisa deals have brought further unease: “What we do know is that we are going into an age where there is going to be more change; it looks like there’s going to be more consolidation,” he added. Selley also noted the ever-extending reach of online giant Amazon, its proposed purchase of Whole Foods in the
US and its possible plans in the UK. The patent of a floating warehouse by Amazon suggests hugely ambitious plans, and Selley encouraged the wholesale industry to look to its developing talent pool to keep up with the barrage of developments: “Maybe this is where we need to be embracing those millennials and Generation Z people who have these sort of ideas,” he suggested. Next up, FWD chief executive James Bielby rightly took the opportunity to reflect on the successes that the Federation has seen over the past year. Just recently, Sterling Supergroup was welcomed into the FWD as a full member and as such completes the buying group line-up of eight. The School Food Plan – which was introduced under the coalition government, created extra jobs for wholesale and was in danger of being scrapped by the Tories – is back
[ FWD CONFERENCE ] on the table. Also, lobbying by the FWD led to the implementation of the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS) this year, which is bringing business back to a legitimate market: “What we’re seeing is sales returning to the channel, not just in alcohol, but in other categories as well,” said Bielby. There is, however, much work still being done by the FWD, and Bielby identified several current concerns. These include health and the sugar tax; the National Living Wage and the possibility of resulting lay-offs; crime; ultra low-emission zones affecting transport and delivery costs; and the deposit return scheme (the FWD opposes this).
popularity as a research tool rather than for placing orders. A term – ‘ROPO’ (research online, purchase offline) – has been coined to reflect these changing habits, while digital and physical marketing are both driving customers. “For suppliers and wholesalers, it’s not a case of looking at a digital presence or a cash & carry presence, it’s a case of having both,” said Sibley. Achieving clarity and ease of navigation are major problems for communication online, with NPD and promotions missing the simplicity and visibility of paper media and development needed to help retailers make an initial assessment online that is comparable to a cash & carry visit.
‘What we do know is that we are going into an age where there is going to be more change’ Andrew Selley, FWD chairman Introducing some surprising opportunities for cash & carries, him! unveiled new research into the wholesale channel. “It’s a user-led market at the moment,” said client services director Ed Sibley. “This mirrors closely what we see in the consumer world – a demand for convenience, movement online and budget pressure.” This shift in shopping behaviour means that even with deliveries (nine in 10 retailers are now ordering online for delivery) customers are more likely to top up an order or replenish stock with a trip to the cash & carry. “When we see growth in the future, we don’t necessarily see growth in either cash & carry or delivered wholesale – it’s a case of growth through both and having an integrated approach,” explained Sibley. In technology, app usage is showing
JJ Food Service is a stellar example of a wholesaler that has embraced technology alongside other innovations to compete in the marketplace while bearing in mind its users. The business has 11 branches, 60,000 B2B customers and a turnover of around £195 million, and has been at the forefront of customer engagement by delivering a digital service to a low-tech customer base. “We had to take a digital journey because it was a question of survival,” said chief operating officer Mushtaque Ahmed. He explained that goods in, picking and counting apps have streamlined the wholesaler’s processes, while data capture has improved customer relations and online ordering has offered more flexibility and efficiency from deliveries. Although technology has undeniably helped wholesalers to understand their
The biggest issue over the next 12 months Managing rising costs Sector consolidation Uncertainty over Brexit Amazon and other disruptors Staffing and skills Opportunities, not challenges
33% 24% 17% 11% 9% 7%
Source: poll of FWD conference delegates. Scores rounded up to nearest whole number.
customer habits, Country Range’s managing director Coral Rose pointed out that the small, often family-run businesses that make up independent wholesalers have their own very effective knowledge of their customers through longstanding relationships, and shouldn’t suffer because they don’t have the budgets to keep up with technology. “They will deliver a specific product range, promotions and level of service that is tailored to the needs of their customers, and they have a loyal customer base,” she said. Jerry Marwood, managing director of Blakemore Trade Partners, echoed the sentiment that customer knowledge is paramount: “An independent retailer needs to exceed consumer expectation, so to be a successful wholesaler, it’s not just about having digital interfaces and great ranges, we need to embed ourselves in our retailers’ success,” he stated. Like Country Range, the wholesaler’s focus on its customers includes an innovative own-brand range: “Own brand isn’t about having the cheapest products on display, it’s about having products people aspire to,” he said. Last onto the stage, Booker’s CEO Charles Wilson highlighted the importance of making the best use of all available resources to strengthen a position: “The only way you beat Amazon is if you’re more efficient,” he declared. There is no doubt that Booker’s move is being followed with interest by the industry. “We grow with brands and we grow with private label; both are critical. We see by working with Tesco we’re going to be able to grow faster,” said Wilson. Booker’s ambitions in retail and foodservice, a banking licence and mobile network made the Tesco merger an appealing prospect that Wilson says will benefit not only Booker but also its customers. What it will do to competiCCM tors remains to be seen.
[ SPOTLIGHT ] Lucy Bartlett, executive chairman of Confex member Elm Valley Foods
my favourite hobby – skiing. (Bartlett is pictured in Flaine, Haute Savoie, France.) The combination of fresh air and a holiday that has to be taken at the quietest time of year for the business is pretty much perfect. What most frustrates you in business (and in life generally)? Having too few hours in the day and needing eight hours of sleep at night. If you were able to retire tomorrow, how would you spend your time? I wouldn’t want to retire tomorrow! But if I did have a few months off I would like to travel slowly around South East Asia, taking in the culture and hopefully eating quite a lot of delicious food.
‘My amazing staff are my inspiration’ What has been the major milestone or turning point of your career? There are two. The first was the breaktime cake sale in my first term at secondary school, when I had the bright idea that our form would sell the most cake if we offered credit. The second was when I became a customer of Elm Valley and a couple of years later ‘liked it so much I bought the company’. Who has been the biggest inspiration to you? My daily inspiration at Elm Valley is our amazing staff. Their loyalty and commitment to the business and their deep knowledge and willingness to embrace change as we have invested and grown inspires me daily and makes me proud to have become part of such a great team. How do you maintain a work-life balance? Like every working mother who loves her job, I find achieving a work-life 14
balance a constant challenge. My family and hobbies help me to find a balance. I love cooking, and eating together every evening with my family (husband Richard and children Arthur, 14, and Honor, 12), while we share our successes and frustrations, is a very good way of getting perspective on my day. At the weekend I really like to do things together as a family, whether that is working out at the gym, trying to learn tennis, or making pizza in our woodfired oven. I am also really lucky with
What advice would you give someone starting his/her first job? Learn from everyone, be prepared to start at the bottom and listen to what is going on around you. Offer everyone a smile and apologise if you make a mistake. I think this advice holds wherever you are on your career ladder. What type of business would you go into if it wasn’t C&C/wholesale? Definitely something food related and customer focused. If you had a million pounds to invest in business, how would you spend it? Technology systems, some new vehicles, stock, refurbishing an adjacent warehouse for us to grow into, a coat of paint for the offices and some really CCM nice biscuits!
Cambridge graduate and former analyst Lucy Bartlett is executive chairman of Elm Valley Foods. After reading history at Cambridge, she joined Schroder Investment Management as an analyst. She was posted to the company’s New York office to look at the US and the consumer sector, particularly foodservice – little did she think that
20 years later she would find herself owning and running Elm Valley Foods! After 10 years at Schroders and two years at US stockbrokers Raymond James, she moved to East Anglia. Elm Valley is a Confex member and serves customers throughout East Anglia from its warehouse in Elmswell, Suffolk.
WN O SH E TB O N N A S C N T O S EN A M E E R S I L T A R E EG V L D A R O S I F TH
[ SUPPLIER STRATEGY ]
Driving excellent retail execution Peter Wells (pictured), off premise sales director at Halewood Wines & Spirits, advises C&Cs to offer a ‘good, better, best’ licensed range to help their customers. What proportion of your business goes through the cash & carry/ delivered wholesale trade? As the lines between channels continue to blur, we don’t differentiate between cash & carry, delivered wholesale and the convenience sector. The impulse sector accounts for around 40% of Halewood’s business and continues to be the biggest channel. With the growing importance of export and the on-trade within our business, over recent years the share of this sector has adjusted accordingly. How are you looking to develop your business through the wholesale trade? Our work within the wholesale trade is to drive excellent retail execution – whether that’s in a convenience store or an on-trade outlet. Pricing has been restructured to reward this, with the best price only available where a consumer-facing promotion is agreed. This is supported with assets, such as brochures, in-store PoS and digital, to maximise the exposure for our brands when they are promoted. Which of your brands are most successful in wholesale and which would you like to see better supported? Lambrini is still our biggest brand in this channel and by refocusing our promotional activity on retail consumers, it is currently in growth within impulse. This month we are launching a limited-edition summer wrap for Lambrini, available as a 1.5-litre PMP. Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer has high brand recognition. Retailers who list it are always pleased with its performance and I will be looking to extend distribution and trial over the next year. The growth in craft gin continues, and Halewood is strongly positioned to work with wholesalers as our portfolio – which 16
broad offering. They also look at the depth of their for example, how many dry gins they stock flavoured gins.
includes traditional juniper-led gins through to more modern styles such as Whitley Neill Quince Gin – caters for a range of price points and diverse consumer preferences. Providing information and recommendations will help retailers make ranging decisions and give them the ability to talk knowledgeably with their customers. Wholesalers should also encourage their customers to trial a more premium offering in their outlets as consumers are favouring more sophisticated brands and happily offsetting any price premium by adjusting consumption habits. With so much NPD – such as in gin – being introduced in the licensed drinks market, how should wholesalers select which products to list? With more than 100 new gin distilleries opening since the beginning of 2015, it is difficult for wholesalers to stock everything. Market data should be used, which suppliers can provide, to educate their choice. Wholesalers should look for a range of products from a number of different suppliers, including local, craft brands and more well-known types, to give a
need to range – London versus
How can cash & carries and delivered wholesalers improve their licensed sales? Simplicity and clarity are key here. Many shop owners may not consume alcohol and so need to be able to shop the alcohol aisles with ease. A clear ‘good, better, best’ range of products and pricing that reflects this is required. There is a move towards showing a high percentage margin on shelf tickets that drives an unrealistically high recommended retail ticket; at this level the product won’t sell in a shop and the retailer won’t re-order, leading to lost sales. There is also a requirement for any new or promoted products to have more presence on shelf by adding eyecatching PoS or displays; simply changing the colour of a shelf ticket is not going to make customers deviate from their shopping list and doesn’t provide return on investment for a supplier. Lastly, wholesalers need to have an omni-channel approach. Retailers no longer only buy from cash & carry and pubs from delivered on-trade wholesale. Cash & carries need to ensure they have a strategy for convenience, specialist retailers, on-trade, foodservice and online, to maximise their appeal. Are there any cash & carries or delivered wholesalers you wish to highlight as being particularly progressive? At opposite ends of the country, JW Filshill and HT & Co have both embraced this omni-channel approach by diversifying their businesses while maintaining their traditional cash & carry. Being able to take online orders for spirits is appealing to business customers in speciality retail and the on-trade, as well as private CCM consumers.
[ EMPLOYMENT LAW ]
Social media: employees must not defame their employer understand issues such as copyright, defamation and reputational damage. Disciplinary action will be tricky if an employee has not been adequately trained on what the business expects CCM and what is not acceptable.
Meet the HR expert Cate Ritchie, 121 HR Solutions Cate Ritchie is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
ollowing a recent employment tribunal in which an employee was found to have been fairly dismissed for Tweeting unsavoury posts about his employer, it is worth considering what social media policies employers should have in place. In this case, the employee – an engineer who had 30 years’ service with his company – was dismissed for gross misconduct when his employer discovered comments that he had posted on his Twitter account three years previously. He brought a claim for unfair dismissal, arguing that his Tweets were private and posted two or three years earlier. He claimed that the employer could not discipline him for Tweets that were “out of date” and private. The employment tribunal did not agree and said that it was irrelevant whether the Tweets were years old. The judge stressed that the comments were visible to anyone and in the public domain, reminding the employee that a negative comment about an employer posted some time ago can still have a negative impact on an employer’s reputation. In this context, the Tweets were not “private”.
Here is advice for employers on how to set out their expectations to staff: a Ensure there is a clear social media policy in place, outlining what constitutes gross misconduct. This could include such things as bringing the company’s name into disrepute or bullying other employees. a Regularly remind employees of expectations regarding social media activity, referring to the policy. a Be clear to employees that negative social media comment will be investigated and could result in dismissal for gross misconduct. a Ensure that any decisions made are well-documented, with clear reasons. a Ensure consistency in the treatment of employees who are deemed to have breached the policy. a Issue the ‘reminder for employees’ stated in the box below. If an employee is expected to represent the business online, he or she must
Social media use reminder for employees Before posting anything on social media consider what effect it could have. Do not think that just because privacy settings are in place this means only ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ can see comments. a Just because a comment was written some time ago does not mean it cannot be used by the employer. a Remember that if a comment or photo is out there on social media, potentially anyone can see it and reuse it. Social media is just that – it’s social. a a
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 email@example.com or phone (0792) 121 3890.
Make sure your employees are eligible to work UK businesses lost almost £50 million in civil penalties for illegal working in the year to July 2016, according to figures sourced from a Freedom of Information request to the Home Office. A total of 2,943 initial civil penalties costing £49,472,500 were issued between July 2015 and July 2016. This number does not include second or further penalties. This suggests that UK businesses are struggling to remain compliant with complex and time-consuming preemployment screening. ‘Right to Work’ checks are often performed by inexpert hiring managers, if they are performed at all, meaning that sophisticated document fraud is overlooked and records lost or damaged. Employers need to ensure that ‘Right to Work’ checks are conducted consistently and that records are maintained appropriately. Failing to follow the correct procedure is expensive!
[ PRODUCTS & PROMOTIONS ]
Grace Foods seeks to accelerate aloe growth Feline favourites
PRODUCT OF THE MONTH
Grace Foods is updating its marketleading Grace Aloe Vera soft drinks range with a new look. The new pack designs feature a prominent new strapline, ‘Say Aloe’, and coincide with the introduction of a limited-edition range of £1.15 pricemarked 500ml packs. “We are featuring the distinctive ‘Say Aloe’ across the entire Grace Aloe Vera range, including the reduced and zero-sugar options,” says Nyree Chambers, head of marketing at Grace Foods UK. “Combined with the refreshed, clearer pack designs, this consistent messaging will really enhance the brand’s presence on-shelf.” In addition to Grace Aloe Vera Original, the £1.15 price mark will be flashed on top-selling strawberry,
mango and lychee flavours in the brand’s regular variants. “We’re confident that the Grace Say Aloe Vera packs will accelerate growth of the aloe drinks sector, in which Grace Aloe already has a market share of almost 80%,” adds Chambers. Grace Foods (01707) 322332
Mars Petcare has unveiled two new products in the pet care and treats category. Dreamies Deli-Catz (rsp £1.25) are bite-size treats with a tender texture made with 80% chicken, beef or turkey, while Whiskas Trio Crunchy Treats (rsp £1.38) are cat treats with three different shapes and colours in every pack and added minerals and vitamins to support a healthy skin and coat. There are three varieties: Poultry, Mixed Grill and Seafood. The launches will be backed by a marketing campaign, including over 14 weeks of TV support for both brands, a digital campaign for Deli-Catz, three million samples, and PoS materials. Mars Petcare (01664) 410000
Flavour and taste
Mondelez has launched summer limitededition packs of Cadbury Mini Eggs on Holiday. The new packs feature only yellow Cadbury Mini Eggs, and will also make more than 5,000 consumers instant winners. Up for grabs via in-pack vouchers are four luxury tailormade holidays worth up to £6,000, and 5,000 summer goodies – including Bluetooth speakers, beach bags and sunglasses. Chocolate candy shell bags sales peak in the summer months, so this new pack offers the chance to drive incremental sales. Following on from last year’s Cadbury Wini Eggs limited-edition packs, the new seasonal 90g packs (rsp £1.20) will be supported by in-store activation throughout the summer.
PepsiCo has introduced a new Fusions range under its Walkers Oven Baked brand, supported by TV advertising. There are three flavours – Thai Chilli & Lime, Spicy Tomato & Herbs and Cheddar & Red Pepper – available in multipacks of six (rsp £1.80), with the latter two also in a single pack (rsp 70p). Marketing director Thomas Barkholt comments: “We are delighted to have seen customers convert to Walkers Oven Baked when looking for healthier snacking options and we want to offer the same oven-baked goodness, in more exotic flavour combinations.”
Calbee UK has relaunched its Yushoi baked pea snack range with a new pack design and enhanced recipes. The range comes in Mild Green Curry, Smoky Salt & Pepper, Soy & Balsamic Vinegar, Sweet Chilli and Lemon and Lightly Salted variants, all featuring packaging that highlights flavour and taste – key purchase drivers for healthy snack consumers, according to the manufacturer’s research. “The feedback from consumers and retailers on the new pack designs has been overwhelmingly positive so we’re really excited about the next 12 months as we bring our new look to the market and look for opportunities to introduce new flavours,” says Sarah Brown, senior brand manager. The relaunch is supported with a PR and social media campaign.
Mondelez International (08702) 400861
PepsiCo (0118) 930 6666
Calbee UK (0330) 660 0015
[ PRODUCTS & PROMOTIONS ]
Shots on target
A Shaw thing
Whitworths, the UK’s leading supplier of high-quality fruit and nut snacking products, has extended its Shots range – which has seen 105% year-onyear growth – with the launch of Shots Nuts. The new line includes a combination of natural nuts and nuts with natural flavouring to offer the health-conscious consumer a protein-rich on-the-go snack with a savoury or sweet taste. Whitworths Shots Nuts come in four variants: Touch of Chilli, Dash of Salsa, Hint of Smoke and Pinch of Salted Caramel. The 25g portion includes onequarter of flavoured nuts and threequarters of mixed natural nuts, and has an rsp of 79p. Whitworths (01933) 653000
Nichols is undergoing a nine-month campaign centred on a distribution drive in the convenience channel to promote its RTD SKUs from the £73.4 million Vimto brand. As well as the distribution drive, which will focus on convenience retailers in the North West, Midlands and London, a £1.5 million above-the-line media campaign will run in cinemas and on demand, as well as across digital and social platforms. The advert, featuring the Vimtoad and MixToad characters, is aimed at Vimto’s teen audience and the campaign is expected to have over 15.4 million impressions. In addition, Vimtoad PoS materials are available to retailers. Nichols (01925) 222222
Colian Group has launched a Dark Chocolate Mint Cream bar under its Elizabeth Shaw brand. The 96g bar contains a soft mint fondant centre covered in dark Elizabeth Shaw chocolate. The product is available in a 96g bar (rsp £1) and is already stocked by wholesalers such as East End Foods, Hancocks, Rayburn and Dhamecha. The total mint boxed chocolate category saw 5.9% growth in 2016, with Elizabeth Shaw outgrowing the category at 6.9% year on year. Karen Crawford, managing director, says: “We’re extremely excited to start expanding into the everyday snack category, which has seen a 68% increase of chocolate within the market.” Colian Group (0117) 959 9810
Find the trail
Nestlé Waters is launching two new flavours of Perrier. The premium range is available in Green Apple and Lemon, with an rsp of 95p. “Having performed exceptionally well in consumer testing, the new range will contain natural ingredients, no sugar and just two calories, making it the perfect option for shoppers on the go,” says Caroline Juin, marketing director at Nestlé Waters. The launch is supported by an outdoor campaign across the country, as well as in-store, sampling, digital and video-on-demand activity. Nestlé Waters (01923) 897700
Mars Chocolate Drinks & Treats has launched Trail Mix fruit and nut in 150g Snack ‘n’ Share packs, following the success of its 25g Trail Mix shot packs, which were launched in 2016. The trail mix packs (rsp £2.99) come in two variants: Bounty with chocolate pieces, coconut, raisins and sultanas, and Galaxy with chocolate pieces, golden raisins, cashews and cranberries. “We hope to drive further value growth with these new branded sharing packs in this category,” says general manager Michelle Frost.
CCEP is launching a new Merlin Entertainments Group on-pack promotion on its flavoured carbonates range. The promotion runs until 19 October on 330ml cans and six and eight-can multipacks of Fanta, Sprite and Dr Pepper classic and zero variants. It offers shoppers a £25 discount on fullprice tickets and a one ride Fast Track pass to Alton Towers or Thorpe Park by entering the on-pack code online. The activation is backed by a social media campaign and online partnership. As part of this, Fanta is giving people the additional chance to win VIP prizes. CCEP (01733) 828000
Mars Chocolate Drinks & Treats (01256) 471500
[ PRICE-MARKED PACKS ]
Offering marked gains in sales Price-marked packs are an integral part of the convenience channel, embraced by suppliers and shoppers alike. It’s the middle of the supply chain where enthusiasm can wane – are PMPs in the best interests of the wholesaler and independent retailer?
MPs are valuable as a tool for enticing shoppers in convenience, but retailers and wholesalers are justifiably wary of the constraints that this pack format places on profit margins. While PMPs are an effective tool in a crowded and increasingly competitive marketplace, they should be considered and used as part of a larger pricing strategy, and the effectiveness of a pricemarked pack will vary from category to category. Research points to the effectiveness of using price-marking as a selling tool to attract customers in convenience, yet retailers often do not consider it a priority when deciding what to stock. “82% of shoppers specifically search out PMPs. In fact, it is a shopper’s number two priority when deciding to buy a product, with 11% of shoppers claiming they are most influenced by PMPs when deciding on a particular product to buy in a convenience store (him!),” says Priya Badhan, category insights manager at Cereal Partners UK. “However, only 29% of retailers think PMPs influence them to purchase products for their store.” 20
With the increase in shopper habits such as shop for tonight, food to go and top-up missions, convenience has greater potential to compete with the grocery and discount channels. Forward-thinking convenience retailers are maximising these opportunities with their category management, and having the right range at the right price is helped by the value perception of price-marked items. “The store should be selling the top 25 brands and offer what is required for a top-up shop,” adds Badhan. “A third of UK adults say that knowing a convenience store sold PMPs positively influenced their decision to visit that particular store.” Soft drinks is just one area where the £1 PMP is an essential part of supplier strategy, as demonstrated by Hall & Woodhouse, with the launch this month of its Rio brand’s £1 price-marked PET bottles. “We are constantly being contacted by our customers asking where they can purchase Rio in a bottle format,” states Danielle Obbard, brand manager. “Independent and convenience retailers are our heartland, but a common consumer perception is that this channel does not represent value for money.”
[ PRICE-MARKED PACKS ] The brand’s growth of 130% over the past five years reflects its strong performance in the channel. The same recognition of this marketing tool has been adopted by Lucozade Ribena Suntory (LRS): “Price-marked soft drinks have a faster rate of sale for independents and symbols than their unmarked equivalents and this rate of sale is increasing, up 5.5% in the last year (IRI),” says Mark Sterratt, head of market, strategy and planning at LRS. “36% of retailers would be more likely to stock a PMP if it had a rounded price point (him!). LRS has all of its key brands price-marked at £1 to tap into this trend.” Soft drinks produce a wealth of opportunities in impulse, and suppliers emphasise the importance of the effective use of price-marking to make the most of the category: “Our message to retailers is simple – stock up on pricemarked packs of bestselling brands and watch your soft drinks sales soar,” says Adrian Troy, marketing director at AG Barr. The company offers multibuy price marking as a retailing mechanic, as well as its standard pricemarking range. “Value is a key consideration when shoppers are choosing a convenience store and price-marking is a simple and visible way of demonstrating value, as well as a critical tool for retailers to offer a clear point of difference from other channels,” he adds. In confectionery, the ‘Big Night In’ shopper is being targeted by Mars Chocolate. “The rise in popularity of the big night in occasion has resulted in sharing pack PMPs playing an increasingly key role in the confectionery market,” says Bep Dhaliwal, trade communications manager. “PMPs are a great way for retailers to grow sales in store and attract the attention of customers.” The supplier keeps year-round PMPs in 60p singles countlines, as well as £1 treat bags and large-block products. Perfetti van Melle has also focused on the £1 price point for its PMP sharing bags, which it believes is an ideal format for summer sales. “Although traditionally we see key spikes around Easter, Halloween and Christmas for confectionery, summer presents another great opportunity for retailers,” says Mark Roberts, trade marketing manager. “Bank holiday weekends and school holidays mark the start of longer car journeys and trips abroad, both of which are times that families are looking to purchase sweet treats to share on the go. Our Fruittella and Mentos £1 price-marked bags are great for families and easy for retailers to position as value for money.“ With summer encouraging some shoppers to swap chocolate for sugar confectionery, Roberts suggests that C&Cs consider their range accordingly to make the most of seasonal opportunities in the category: “Fruity flavours do particularly well in the summer months, and this year we’ve got a range of new products to entice families,” he says. 22
When Nichols launched its Raspberry, Orange & Passionfruit 500ml Vimto Remix RTD, it chose to solely provide a £1 PMP. “Time and again we’ve seen how important PMPs are in building trust between retailers and their shoppers, and ultimately in driving sales,” says Ed Jones, senior customer marketing manager at Vimto Soft Drinks. “We’ve chosen to offer the product as a £1 PMP to convenience channels as these retailers have played a key role in Remix’s success so far.” As the balancing act between attracting customers and maintaining margins continues to be at the forefront of retailer concerns, some manufacturers are addressing their approach to PMPs accordingly. “The margin pressures for retailers and wholesalers are immense and we take our responsibility in driving category growth seriously,” says Stuart Graham, convenience & impulse director at Pladis. “PMPs are, and will remain, an important part of our growth strategy in convenience; making prices visible to shoppers plays a huge role in driving sales in a convenience store. Our McVitie’s Nibbles were launched in £1 PMP format, which was specifically requested by the wholesale channel.” Pladis relaunched its top-selling McVitie’s chocolate biscuit range in a revised price-marked format with a price reduction from £1.75 to £1.50. “This initiative offers a one percentage point improvement in margin to the wholesaler and a competitive headline price to the retailer, driving better base sales,” says Graham. “It is a win-win situation for all and a huge step in alleviating some of the pressures retailers and wholesalers are facing on margin.”
View from HQ Martin Race managing director Bestway Wholesale “Price-marked packs are a major part of our business; we support them and if they go up in line with prices going up in the books, then we will still support them. “The biggest thing with price-marked packs is they have got to be within 10% of what the multiples’ standard price is and they have got to give the retailer the right margin. Some may say that you shouldn’t have pricemarked packs and should have standard packs, but you have only to look to tobacco where the price mark has have been taken off and the business has collapsed. You have a situation where people perceive the independents as poor value on tobacco and now buy at multiples and multiple convenience.” He concludes: “We support price-marked packs but they have to be honest price-marked packs.”
[ PRICE-MARKED PACKS ] Red Bull adopted the same strategy when it reduced its 355ml price-marked can from £1.59 to £1.49 last year, leading to a 14% increase in rate of sale over the same quarter in the previous year (IRI). “This price is succeeding in its aim to maintain the premium position of the brand, whilst delivering an increased rate of sale and fuelling additional category growth,” says category development manager Rich Fisher. “A Shopper Intelligence study has shown that energy shoppers are even more price conscious than the average category shopper, making price-marked packs a must-stock. Red Bull offers PMP and non-PMP formats across its range, delivering the choice to retailers and shoppers, and continues to see positive growth across the family.” The manufacturer is launching a new limited-edition variant for the summer in a PMP. Red Bull Summer Edition is Kiwi-Apple flavour and comes in a 250ml plain or £1.19 price-marked can. An extension of the existing Editions range, which has delivered £58.2 million in sales since 2013 (IRI), two million cans of the energy drink will be produced to encourage increased summer sales. Asvina, which makes Pink Panther Wafers, is using pricemarking to strengthen its entry into convenience, and has considered its route to market accordingly when settling on its price point. “We’re selling price-marked packs to break into the convenience sector,” says managing director Prasheel Kunwardia. “Previously, Pink Panther Wafers missed the convenience store market and new management is trying to make the wafers accessible to convenience shoppers. “Consumers like buying price-marked packs because they know what to expect when they get to the counter, and have come to expect price-marked packs for impulse buys.” The focus on the price points is one that suppliers are well aware of when introducing NPD to convenience. At Wrigley, consumer research has been behind pricing strategy decisions with the introduction of the Extra sugarfree gum hanging bags in £1 price-marked Peppermint and Spearmint variants: “The £1 price point has been driven by consumer marketing insights research, which shows 99p is a key pricing threshold, presenting an opportunity to drive conversion by bringing more shoppers into the category whilst maintaining good margins for retailers,” states Dan Newell, confections marketing manager. KP Snacks has £1 price-marked packs in its bestsellers, as well as its NPD. “£1 PMP ranges are growing at 11% versus non-PMP formats at 7.2% (Nielsen). At KP Snacks, we’re seeing the demand for PMP formats remaining strong as they provide shoppers with much-needed value from the bigger eat they are looking for and offset any potential price perceptions,” says Matt Collins, sales director for convenience, wholesale, discounters & foodservice. The supplier does accept that not all retailing strategies 24
include price-marked stock: “While we continue to increase our range of PMPs, we also offer a comprehensive range of non-PMPs to give retailers choice,” he adds. Tata Global Beverages suggests that wholesalers consider their customers’ confidence in the need for a price-marked SKU within a category range when choosing products in this format. “With something like the range of Tetley Super Green teas, which is bang on trend and creating real excitement in the market, a price mark would not add extra value,” maintains Brett Grimshaw, business sector controller convenience and out of home at Tata. Not all PMPs are created equal when it comes to attracting retailers. “To assess the benefit of price-marked packs retailers should ask themselves: ‘Do I need to offer this product as a price-marked pack; does the price mark give me a cost advantage; could my customer profile be charged more than the price mark; and would a pricemarked pack here erode the sense of a treat buy that comes from a higher value item like a premium tea?’” Shopper preference is one driving force behind stocking decisions, but space is also a major factor for convenience retailers, and savvy suppliers are taking this into account in their product and case size consideration for the channel. Taylors of Harrogate suggests that cash & carries cater to retailers with a choice of sizes: “When working with wholesalers we always recommend they pay close attention to listings – in particular we feel stocking smaller pack sizes such as 40s and 80s offer lower price marks and great value,” says channel controller Helen Boulter. “The hot drinks market has seen an increase in and focus on price-marked packs; they give shoppers confidence in the store’s pricing and are often perceived by shoppers as a promotion in their own right,” she adds.
Wholesaler soundbite “We’re always fighting against small margins and the growing cost of the business. We understand that with the fluctuating economy at the moment, prices will rise, but if we can maintain the margins for ourselves and the retailers – especially on price-marked packs – we can support suppliers in increasing the products out there.” Matthew Moare, operations co-ordinator, Kentish Match Company
Look for g out deal reat s at & C Cash arry
Stock up now
[ PRICE-MARKED PACKS ] Similarly, Princes recognises the usefulness of a spacesaver with regards to storage, as well as display. “To help retailers stock a wider range, our PMPs are available in smaller cases of six on olive oil and fruit,” says Graham Breed, marketing director. Launched in April, Napolina Olive Oil and Napolina Extra Virgin Olive Oil are available in a 500ml £3.99 PMP and a 250ml £2.49 PMP. The supplier’s portfolio incorporates price-marked packs for several of its brands to support wholesale merchandising. “We are selective in the products that we price mark, as they are chosen to reflect the needs of the convenience retailer,” explains Breed. “An effective merchandising option is to position muststock products alongside related PMPs. This makes the category easier to shop and can help retailers when it comes to arranging products on the fixture in store.” Procter & Gamble’s smaller £1.99 PMP packs for the laundry category are “flying off the shelves”, according to P&G laundry brand manager Daniel Jalapour. “We’ve seen a surge in popularity for our liquid laundry detergents in the channel over the past year and we want to continue helping wholesalers to drive sales in depot,” he says. Coca-Cola European Partners uses the size of its resources to benefit retailers. “Of our 1,000 strong field sales force – one of the largest teams in FMCG – we have nearly 800 focusing on convenience missions,” says trade communications manager Amy Burgess. “We go into stores and speak directly with retailers, helping to build the right offering of PMPs to deliver the growth they’re looking for.
‘Our PMPs are provided at a price that offers a fair and competitive margin and helps to increase consumer appeal’ Amy Burgess, CCEP’s trade communications manager “Retailers are at the heart of our price-marking strategy. PMPs are provided at a price that offers a fair and competitive margin and helps to increase consumer appeal by offering a great perception of value, while allowing our customers to reap the full benefits of increased sales.” Another benefit of price marking is the increased likelihood of an impulse purchase, says Burgess: “An irresistible offer can often encourage a shopper to buy an item they had no intention of picking up, and PMPs are an ideal way of presenting great perceived value to consumers. Second sitings of PMP offers – for instance, close to the entrance or by the checkout – can help retailers increase their sales.” 26
Grace Foods UK has rebranded its market-leading Aloe Vera soft drinks for convenience. A limited-edition £1.15 price-marked 500ml bottle, featuring a new ‘Say Aloe’ strapline, is available in Original, Mango, Strawberry and Lychee variants. Britvic’s merchandising advice includes using pricemarked NPD to attract consumers and to push expansion of the under-indexed low and no-sugar variants of popular brands in convenience. “Single-serve drinks benefit from clear price-marking to attract the attention of consumers on an impulse mission,” says Trystan Farnworth, commercial director – convenience & impulse. With launches from its Robinson’s, Pepsi Max and Drench brands all aimed at healthier soft drinks alternatives for shoppers, the supplier has also considered both consumer trends and retailers’ preferences: “We recommend stocking a range of price-marked packs. In particular, stocking low or no-sugar soft drinks will enable retailers to take advantage of the growing health trend. Non price-marked versions are available too, offering retailers a variety of options to satisfy their CCM customers’ specific needs,” states Farnworth.
For further information: AG Barr (01204) 664200 Asvina 020-8905 6823 Britvic Soft Drinks (0845) 758 1781 Cereal Partners UK (01707) 325100 Coca-Cola European Partners (01733) 828000 Grace Foods UK (01707) 322332 Hall & Woodhouse (01258)452141 KP Snacks (01753) 217600 Lucozade Ribena Suntory 020-3727 2420 Mars Chocolate (01753) 550055 Nichols (01925) 222222 Perfetti van Melle (01753) 8442100 Pladis 020-8234 5000 Princes 0151-966 7000 Procter & Gamble (01555) 662886 Red Bull (0203) 117 2000 Tata Global Beverages 020-8338 4000 Taylors of Harrogate (01423) 814000 The Wrigley Company (01189) 317030
[ VODKA UPDATE ]
Adding a splash of colour Vodka suppliers are aiming to grab the attention of consumers with vibrant pack designs, new products boasting on-trend flavour combinations and brands steeped in history. remium vodka continues to drive growth within the vodka market, and Absolut from Pernod Ricard UK has maintained its position as the No.1 premium vodka in the impulse channel by increasing its distribution by 2% and growing by just under £2 million year on year (Nielsen). The brand is continuing to increase category value by encouraging shoppers to trade up to Absolut from standard vodka, with these purchases equating to 36% of sales (Aimia/Dunnhumby). The company has introduced a limited-edition bottle of Absolut featuring a rainbow design and the statement ‘Taking Pride In Diversity’. Supplied in 6 x 70cl cases, this is the brand’s third and consecutive bottle to support the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community. PoS is available on request and includes a range of front-of-store pallets, freestanding display units (FSDUs), shelf-barkers and aisle fins. Adam Boita, head of marketing at Pernod Ricard, comments: “It’s going to be an exciting few months for Absolut, with this limited-edition bottle marking the start of an ambitious multi-million-pound marketing campaign for us. Our iconic bottle, clad in a Rainbow design, is sure to grab the attention of shoppers due to its high visibility on shelf versus the rest of the category.” Absolut has also entered the ready-to-drink (RTD) category with Absolut Mixt, available in 250ml slimline cans in two varieties: Cloudberry & Apple and Blueberry & Lime. There are 12 cans (rsp £2) to a case. Boita says: “Absolut Mixt has been created to encourage consumers to trade up to a premium core spirit. The striking, bold and simple packaging design will cut through the extensive choice currently available to shoppers and fill the major gap in the market for a premium vodka RTD can.” He adds: “The cans tested extremely well with consumers, who loved the unique flavour combinations and stylish can design. The Scandinavian berries will appeal to those wanting to try something new, particularly with the ‘Scandi’ trend now firmly established in UK culture, from TV series to fashion and health trends.” Absolut is experiencing great momentum in all channels, with Absolut Raspberri the No.1 flavoured vodka in the offtrade and Absolut Vanillia in the same position in the on-trade (Nielsen). The RTD cans category is up by 12.2% in value terms (Nielsen), and with a rich heritage in flavour innovation, Absolut is in “the perfect position to offer its superior taste in a convenient format”, maintains the company.
Through consistent growth over the last 18 months, VK is now the biggest traditional RTD in the UK on-trade in terms of volume, reports owner Global Brands. VK is currently growing by 7.9% (CGA). Abi McCabe, VK brand manager, comments: “VK’s new position of No.1 is fantastic news, and it will continue to remain in growth with some very exciting brand campaigns on the horizon.” Cellar Trends has taken over all sales, distribution and marketing in the UK for one of the oldest authentic Russian vodka brands, Moskovskaya Vodka. This follows a strategic alliance with the Amber Beverage Group, the largest producer and distributor of alcoholic beverages in the Baltic region. A brand that embraces over 100 years of history, Moskovskaya is still produced using traditional methods. Blended with purified water and the finest grains, the spirit is known for its elegant lightness leaving a smooth and longlasting sweetness. Today, Moskovskaya Vodka is available in over 60 markets worldwide and has developed strong market positions in the Baltics, Southern Europe and Canada. Terry Barker, sales & marketing director at Cellar Trends, says: “Moskovskaya offers quality combined with a rich heritage at a great price point, so we are confident that this will appeal to our customers. We are looking forward to working with the Amber Beverage Group to take Moskovskaya’s brand awareness and demand in the UK to the next level.” Moskovskaya has an rsp of £18 and is supplied in cases of CCM six bottles.
For further information: Cellar Trends (01283) 217703 Global Brands (01246) 216000 Pernod Ricard UK 020-8538 4484
[ DAIRY UPDATE ]
Satisfying consumer demands Convenient options and more adventurous tastes are driving NPD in the dairy category. he flavoured milk market is now worth around £275 million and is up by 4.5% year on year. Symbols and independents are growing ahead of the total market at 6.8%. Flavoured milks consistently enjoy their highest selling months during the summer, reports FrieslandCampina. “Yazoo is growing by 5% in value in the symbols and independents channel and we are helping wholesalers to make the most of the milk drinks opportunity by offering PoS to create disruption and drive visibility,” says marketing manager Richard Duplock. “Our £1 PMPs are some of our bestselling products in the convenience channel.” Also recognising the appeal of price-marked packs, Mars Chocolate Drinks & Treats recently moved its ‘must stock’ 350ml milk drinks range into £1.29 PMPs. The range includes Mars, Galaxy, Milky Way, Bounty, Mars Caramel, Skittles and new Maltesers milk drinks. The 702ml Mars Milk bottle is also available as a PMP, priced at £1.69. Grace Foods UK has introduced a £1 price-marked pack for Nurishment’s four top-selling flavours (Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry and Banana), available until the end of August.
All data unless otherwise stated: IRI
The UK’s No.1 nutritionally enriched milk is also being supported by #CanDo, a campaign targeting students and young adults. Running nationally until October, #CanDo involves a large, branded fridge being sited in high footfall areas such as university campuses and shopper car parks. “Nurishment consumers live in the moment and we’re reinforcing Nurishment’s role as the drink for people with a #CanDo attitude,” says head of marketing Nyree Chambers. “Retailers sourcing products from cash & carries know that flavoured milk shoppers have become more discerning,” she adds. “Taste and flavour remain important, but they want these drinks to do much more than quench thirst. They’re looking to them to help fuel their busy lifestyles and provide much-needed nutrition which keeps them on the go.” Nurishment includes vitamins, minerals, calcium and as much as 20g of protein per pack. Nearly one in three households now buy into the dairy alternatives category (Nielsen). Available to wholesalers after an initial launch in Tesco is Alpro’s range of plant-based ice creams. The three varieties – Hazelnut Chocolate, Vanilla and Coconut – come in 500ml tubs with an rsp of £3.50. A marketing campaign, including digital activity, sampling and in-store promotions, is currently backing the range. 30
Usage of cheese as a hot topping or filling is a growing area – for example, 76% of mozzarella is now eaten hot. In response, Lactalis McLelland has introduced Galbani Mozzarella Grill, which can be heated in a pan or on a barbecue in just two minutes. The product comes in a 160g pack (rsp £2.19) containing two slices. A £2.5 million marketing campaign is backing the Galbani brand in 2017. It includes TV adverts, video-on-demand, and digital and social media activity until the end of August. Lactalis McLelland has also launched a campaign to support its Seriously Cheddar brand. Running until September, the ‘There’s Cheddar, Then There’s Seriously’ campaign features video-on-demand and social media activity, complemented by national poster advertising and in-store activation. Dairylea is the UK’s No.1 snacking cheese brand and is helping to drive the category, with growth of 9% (Nielsen). A strong performer is Dairylea Lunchables, which is showing growth of 25% (Nielsen). Mondelez International continues to bring innovation to the category, including latest addition Dairylea Dunkers Nachos, which will be supported by a £1.4 million Dairylea marketing campaign later this year. Meanwhile, Philadelphia – the UK’s No.1 soft white cheese brand (Nielsen) – recently partnered with TV cook Lorraine Pascale to inspire consumers with a range of weekday dinner recipes. Earlier this year Mondelez also unveiled Philadelphia Flip & Dip and Philadelphia Simply Dip, both ideal for sharing occasions. In the foodservice sector, Dairygold Food Ingredients is developing products to appeal to the more adventurous tastes of consumers. For example, Monterey Jack with Chilli has a ‘zesty kick’ that comes from the addition of chillies and CCM peppers. It is available sliced, crumbed and in blocks.
For further information: Alpro (0800) 169 4856 Dairygold Food Ingredients (01270) 589136 FrieslandCampina (01403) 273273 Grace Foods UK (01707) 322332 Lactalis McLelland (01737) 783300 Mars Chocolate Drinks & Treats (01256) 471500 Mondelez International (08702) 400861
[ INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ]
An investment that pays off IT companies with specific expertise in the wholesale environment can help wholesalers to run a more efficient and effective operation and also gain a competitive edge. s a generation of retailers weaned on emerging technologies comes to the helm, wholesalers are all too aware of the need to embrace innovative new technologies. Despite this understanding, technological innovation in the sector has been somewhat slow due to a lack of awareness and knowledge of the technologies available, according to Matt Norbury, CEO of Instant Access Technologies (IAT). “Additionally, there is a misconception that investment in technology would prove expensive, complex and disruptive to the organisation,” he says. Beacon technology is becoming more widely used in retail and wholesale environments. Beacons are small Bluetooth devices that interact with smartphones via dedicated apps. When within a certain proximity, a beacon sends a notification – this could include details of a nearby deal. Recognising that retailers and wholesalers needed a relevant way to connect to customers via their mobile devices, IAT created the bigDL app – a consumer deals app and a retail marketing tool. Central to the app is its integration with mobile coupon and beacon technology installed at almost 2,000 convenience stores nationwide. This includes over 200 Today’s Group stores and over 1,500 independent retailers, as part of bigDL’s partnership with News UK to bring digital technology to convenience. The technology can be echoed for wholesalers through a white labelled version of the app – as it has been for the Today’s Group’s ‘Plan for Profit’ app. Norbury points out that although some wholesalers have adopted beacon technology in depots, many are unaware of its full potential and others remain sceptical of its functionality: “Common misconceptions include the belief that notifications could be irrelevant, too frequent and disrupt the shopping experience. On the contrary, beacon technology can only work when teamed with a corresponding app that
Food allergy icons for all to use Erudus, which operates a food allergy database to help wholesalers and caterers adhere to the Food Information for Consumers Regulation, has recently launched a set of icons that anyone can use to alert consumers if a product contains one of the 14 major allergen ingredients. The icons can be downloaded, free of charge, from the company’s website: http://www.erudus.com/resourcecentre/erudus-food-allergy-icons/ At the time of launch, no standardised approach to the graphic representation of the presence of allergen ingredients in food products had been agreed. Erudus believes that an industry-wide icon set should be adopted as building a consumer recognised mark would instil trust and confidence in the final product.
has been installed by the mobile phone user. The number of alerts delivered can also be controlled while in a depot.” He adds: “This technology offers an extremely powerful marketing tool for wholesalers in a bid to attract nearby retailers to their depot.” Not only does the technology offer wholesalers the potential to inform retailers of promotions quicker than traditional print materials, it also gives them the opportunity to match or beat a competitor’s deals because offers can be updated instantly. Deals can also be offered to retailers via mobile coupons for redemption in depot. Additionally, mobile applications can advise customers on bestsellers or new products and include a useful POR calculator.
A one-stop solution
Sanderson’s Swords gives Robinson’s several benefits, including greater accuracy through voice-directed picking.
Robinson’s, a leading wholesaler and retailer on the Isle of Man, recently implemented Swords, the specialist wholesale software solution from Sanderson. Shortly before the Swords system was due to go live, Rita Patel, senior marketing executive at Sanderson, visited Robinson’s at its site in Ballapaddag, which includes a 50,000 sq ft distribution centre, a cash & carry and a world foods retail outlet. Patel’s objective was to witness the completion of the software implementation project. The Sanderson project team was led by one of its wholesale software consultants, Alan Rainey, who ran several training sessions and demonstrations, including training for Robinson’s accounts team on Swords bank rec, providing advice on how to streamline banking processes using Swords. Robinson’s has over 7,000 product lines and a number of operational areas, such as a fresh fish market complete with live lobsters, a large fruit and vegetable store room, and a pre-pack food operation. The Swords stock and warehouse management system therefore has a crucial role to play in centralising stock information for the business.
[ INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ] Tips for tackling category management in an effective way Category management done well is a collaborative, continThe result of this conflict, he says, is a “frequently uous process between supplier and wholesaler, and is data imperfect approach where best practice is substituted for a intensive and analytical in character, points out The Whole ‘make do’ solution”. Sale Company, which provides data management and So, what is the ideal solution? Here are some suggesinsight solutions to wholesalers and suppliers. tions from The Whole Sale Company of actions that could Effective category management covers optimum range, make a real difference: layout and space, sales and promotion mechanics, cusa Get the wholesaler to drive the agenda rather than the tomer education and financial return. This will generally supplier – they are the one impartial party in this process. embrace both wholesale and retail/catering environments a Get external, independent expertise to act as data miner to ensure the work flows through to execution. and honest broker. Historically, category management has been most effeca Really dig into the data – volume, value, customer numtively undertaken by market-leading suppliers. “The main bers and rate of sale are all required to identify genuine driver is for the supplier to retain/grow their share of an high volume, high distribution lines – wholesale sales can expanding category, as this is often an easier win than be easily skewed by one customer buying a lot of volume. trying to purely grow their own sales from a dominant a Once the data is analysed, develop an ideal for the position in isolation,” says Mike McGee, managing director category you are working on using market norms, existing of The Whole Sale Company. performance and local influences. The reality is that there are many conflicting drivers a Liaise with all key suppliers and get buy-in to the vision impeding effective category management, he argues. and use a strong facilitator to reach consensus – again, “Both wholesalers and suppliers must independent is advantageous. devote time and skill to category manMcGee concludes: “Some of us have agement. Even if those skilled resources been around long enough to remember are available, the work is usually added the FWD Blueprint. An industry supto someone’s ‘day job’. Commercially, ported, recommended range was unieffective category management is likely versally agreed to be the right thing. to conflict with ongoing buyer/supplier The issue was in the execution. trading relationships – balancing listing Someone needs to be ‘Switzerland’ in fees, space agreements and promotion the process – maybe a third party playslots against reviewing and delisting ing devil’s advocate could be just the SKUs based on pure category managething the channel needs to drive cateThe Whole Sale Company’s MD Mike McGee and director Tanya Pepin. ment measures is a sensitive issue.” gory growth?”
Staff training was a crucial element of why the Sanderson system was chosen. Robinson’s project owner Mark Hotchkiss explained: “Alan was the pivotal reason why we chose Sanderson. We needed someone who would take time to understand the needs of the business, our people and how we can make the Sanderson system work for us.” Hotchkiss pointed out that all areas of the business were growing and needed to move away from time-consuming paper-based systems: “Many restaurant customers order late at night and leave orders on a telephone messaging system. The web ordering service will help streamline our operations and further improve customer service levels.” He added that he was “looking forward to how the software will help Robinson’s increase orders, achieve greater accuracy through voice-directed picking in the warehouse and provide KPIs to measure performance across the business.” During Patel’s visit, she sat in on a Mobile CRM demonstration to sales representatives. “Whether on the road or at a customer’s site, the reps can place and amend orders, ask for service feedback and view products,” she said. “The team recognised the advantages of having all the information they need at their fingertips.” Matthew Mathieson-Nelson, operations director at 34
Robinson’s, commented: “Because we are on a small island, customers expect a certain level of service and the Mobile CRM system is crucial in helping us to do this. We are a onestop shop for customers and the Sanderson system is a onestop solution for businesses like ours.” Patel also met Daniel Hurst, the warehouse manager, who said that, with less than an hour’s training on the voice-picking system, the team was ready to pick. Hurst noted that with the current paper-based system, there can be up to 300 pick errors per week. With the new Sanderson voice-directed system, he expects that number to fall to under 10 per week. During the final day of Patel’s visit, Rainey confirmed that all was ready to go live on schedule. “It was rewarding to hear how much Robinson’s valued all the hard work by Alan and the Sanderson team back in the office,” said Patel. CCM
For further information: Erudus (0333) 121 8999 Instant Access Technologies (0118) 979 6341 Sanderson (0333) 123 1400 The Whole Sale Company (01908) 920602
COFFEE WITHOUT COMPROMISE