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Michael Skelton on establishing S&W as a powerhouse in Ireland


Experts discuss exodus of HGV drivers and hospitality employees CATEGORY INSIGHT

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JULY 2021









Seara United Kingdom • 2nd Floor, Building 1• Imperial Place, Maxwell Road, Borehamwood Hertfordshire WD6 1JN. +44 2035358856


July 2021

This month don’t miss... 07 16

To reduce pressure on deliveries, JJ launches a new campaign.



Parfetts achieves a 50% rise in turnover and gives staff a bonus.

CJ Lang moves up to No.3 spot in Advantage Group report.



Editor’s Comment Industry News


Talking Point Ben Davies, director of a driver agency, highlights the reasons for the chronic shortage of HGV drivers, while Andrew Green, chief executive of the Craft Guild of Chefs, discusses why there are so many job vacancies in the hospitality industry.


Behind the Scenes S&W, which services over 2,500 customers across Ireland, aims to reinforce its position with the launch of Nearby, a new symbol group. MD Michael Skelton talks about his plans for further growth.


As a child, Parfetts’ Noel Robinson wanted to play for Newcastle United. Now, if he won a holiday, he would take his family – and Alan Shearer!



Spotlight Noel Robinson, joint managing director (designate) of Parfetts, who recently joined the employeeowned business from Bestway.


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Some chefs are changing jobs to gain a better work-life balance.

S&W’s team ‘goes above and beyond’ for its customers.

July 2021


hen we hear “BIGGA”, the term “Larger than life” comes to mind. It is a word that fills one with pride, exudes self-belief and confidence, epitomizing the Jamaican people and as such the product has often been aligned with Jamaican nationalism.





, H ‘ @BIGGASoda

Bold, vibrant, colourful and effervescent – BIGGA Soft Drink is everything Jamaican and we have now increased the size of the packing to a 600mL, giving European consumers more vibes in every bottle. The new portfolio has something for every member of the family with a choice of five sweet or spicy flavours including Ginger Beer, Jamaica Kola, Fruit Punch, Pineapple, and Grape which are great company for any occasion or meal.

The product was developed by The Jamaica Drink Company – A subsidiary of The Wisynco Group Limited in 1996 and launched in the UK by Grace Foods UK Ltd in 2013. The beverage can be found locally in multiples in the World Food sections, the Cash & Carry sector, and the Independent trade sector. The outlook for Bigga is extremely positive. The demand for our product has been growing steadily even with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the market, making it clear that the brand has been embraced by consumers and customers alike. The brand looks forward to expanding its offering with more sizes, packages, and flavours for consumers to enjoy.

Fin F Fi nd our ur dr dri d rinks nk ks in th ks t e Worl o d Food or Foo ood ods ais od isl s es es of o all all leadi a le ead ading adi d ng ng sup su s up perm erm e rm mar arkets ark r e rk ets ts s an and a nd co onve nve nv enie niiie ence ce st sto ore re es nati es nati ationw ionw onwide on wide de! e! Forr mo For more m ore iinfform orm or matti ma tion tio on, v o visit sit www. www www ww w gra gra efoo grac f ods.c foods.c ds.c s o .uk uk k | emai maiil:: info@ m info nffo@ nfo@ @gkco gkco .com com om


Take control and drive change


t may be contentious, but our article on page 12 about the causes of the HGV driver shortage should be essential reading for those involved in delivering goods across the UK. Ben Davies, the boss of a driver agency, spells out the reasons for the shortage, from the change in tax status affecting drivers since April this year to the ‘qualifying experience’ clause implemented by the insurance industry that effectively prevents many newly-qualified HGV drivers from obtaining work. Other factors contributing to the driver shortage, says Davies, are “disgusting facilities at unsecured and overpriced” parking areas; older drivers leaving the industry because of what they perceive as unjustified additional training; “poor treatment” of drivers by warehouse/distribution centre staff; “harassment and abuse” from other road users; and unsociable hours. Davies also has plenty to say about the newly-relaxed rules on drivers’ hours that came into effect on 12 July. The Government’s decision to extend the permitted hours has been welcomed by the FWD, which campaigned for the move (page 7), but Davies is scathing: “Extending these safety limits for an already overworked key workforce seems not only ludicrous and unsafe but a mere sticking plaster for a problem which has still not registered its severity with those in power.” Davies adds that many hauliers are


Michael Skelton on establishing S&W as a powerhouse in Ireland


Kirsti Sharratt Managing Editor




“refusing to jeopardise the safety of their drivers and other road users by utilising this forthcoming allowance”. Many food and drink wholesalers – and suppliers – have their own fleet and their own drivers, but some do use third-party hauliers, so even if they wanted to take advantage of the extension to permitted drivers’ hours, their transport partners may say no. As we have seen many times before, wholesalers can be very resourceful, and there are some examples of this on page 7. CJ Lang has invested in a new driver apprenticeship scheme and is training some of its warehouse staff to be HGV drivers, while JJ Foodservice, which recently launched a recruitment campaign to encourage more women to become HGV drivers, has now introduced higher savings for customers who collect their orders rather than having them delivered. There are clearly several problems to solve before the shortage of HGV drivers is fully resolved, but JJ Foodservice, CJ Lang and other wholesalers are going down the right road by taking inventive steps to address the issues in their control. Meanwhile, people like Davies will continue to highlight the uncomfortable truths about the industry in an attempt to persuade the Government to act.

JULY 2021


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EDITORIAL Managing Editor Kirsti Sharratt Contributor Siobhan Kielty Contributor Kevin Whitlock ADVERTISING AND MARKETING Publishing Director Martin Lovell Media Sales Manager Clare Phillips 4,448 July 2018 – June 2019 Audit Bureau of Circulations Printed by Bishops Printers ISSN 1352-254X All media rates, feature lists and deadlines can be accessed online by visiting:

THREE WAYS TO GET INVOLVED THIS MONTH 1. ONLINE Catch up on all the latest news via our website, including developments from wholesalers and suppliers, and view our current online magazine edition, as well as back issues.


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

Experts discuss exodus of HGV drivers and hospitality employees

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July 2021



New CRG chairman Country Range Group has appointed former Brakes CEO Ton Christiaanse as non-executive chairman. Christiaanse (pictured) has more than 30 years’ experience in FMCG, including CEO at Aviko, chairman of AK Stoddart, and adviser to Unilever and Sara Lee. He is also a member of the Institute for Turnaround.

CRG managing director Coral Rose said: “Ton’s experience and knowledge will be hugely beneficial to the group as we look to develop our future strategy to meet changing market and member needs. His reputation is second to none.” a Country Range Group (0845) 209 3777

Big giveaway Nisa’s Making a Difference Locally charity has helped retailers to support local projects with over £160,000 in donations in the latest round of its Heart of the Community Awards. Nominations were accepted from Nisa retailers, and 53 good causes nationwide were chosen to receive funding of up to £5,000 each. The total of £163,000 in donations represents Making a Difference Locally’s biggest funding giveaway to date. a Nisa Retail (01724) 282028 06

July 2021

Mixed results for Bestway Bestway’s wholesale division – comprising Bestway Wholesale, Bestway Northern and Batleys Properties – achieved a 3% rise in turnover to £2.06 billion in the year ended 30 June 2020. Operating profit increased from £14.4 million to £20.9 million. “Sales were down during the first three quarters of the financial year, mainly due to the fall in tobacco sales in line with the fall in UK consumption,” said director Naser Janjua Khan. “Sales increased significantly during the last quarter due to the impact of COVID-19.” Meanwhile, Bestway Retail, which operates the Bargain Booze, Wine Rack and Central Convenience Store brands, recorded a loss of £8.2 million in the same period – this compares to a loss of £6.2 million in 2019. Key performance indicators highlighted by the directors include an increase in revenues from £379.4 million to £388.5 million. However,

gross profit margin dropped from 13.5% to 12.8% and store numbers declined from 631 to 587. Bestway Retail is undertaking a full strategic review of its estate in order to understand how it can better serve its customers. The company has also restructured its field-based operations team. This follows the acquisition of Costcutter earlier this year. Best-one and Costcutter field-based employees are combining to provide support to the group’s 2,544

convenience stores, and the new business & store development team (within the newly combined field team) will double in size. The field-based team is led by head of symbol fascia Paul Adams, while the new business & store development team is headed up by Jamie Davison. A newly formed central operations team, led by Frankie Haynes, will provide further strategic and operational support to the field teams. a Bestway Wholesale 0208453 1234

Dhamecha launches 10th branch Dhamecha has officially launched its 10th branch in Leyton, London, with a range of introductory deals including “very strong” promotions on spirits and soft drinks. Since its acquisition of the former TRS depot earlier this year Dhamecha has refurbished the warehouse, and the changes include a new company logo (pictured). The branch is open seven days a week: 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm on Saturday, and 9am to 3pm on Sunday. The general manager is Keshav Odedra, who has worked for Dhamecha for 38

years, latterly as general manager of the Enfield branch. The former duty manager at Enfield, Krupal Patel, has also moved across to Leyton as deputy general manager.

Another Dhamecha employee who has played a key part in getting the depot ready for the launch is area manager Shaun BowmanMorris. He has worked for the wholesaler for nearly six years and was previously a general manager of the Watford and Wembley units. A Unitas Wholesale member, Dhamecha now has eight cash & carries in London and two in the Midlands area. As part of its acquisition of the Leyton depot, it now stocks a range of TRS branded products. a Dhamecha Leyton 0208556 2117


Addressing shortage of HGV drivers At a time when the UK has been hit by a crippling shortage of HGV drivers – as many as 100,000 according to industry bodies – CJ Lang & Son has invested in a new driver apprenticeship scheme. The SPAR Scotland wholesaler has recruited new drivers and warehouse operatives in recent weeks and is working with GTG Training to deliver the training. Alan Brown, CJ Lang distribution centre manager, said: “As part of our development programme, we believe that, with the right skills, a few of our colleagues can be our HGV drivers of tomorrow. “The scheme facilitates this progression from warehouse to distribution, plus all our HGV Class 2 drivers will be upskilled to HGV 1.” CJ Lang’s logistics division is working with GTG Training on a Modern Apprenticeship Scheme in Driving Goods Vehicles (Level 3) to help fill the future skill shortage of HGV drivers. Other wholesalers are also taking steps to address

CJ Lang is giving warehouse staff the chance to be HGV drivers.

the driver crisis. For example, Castell Howell has temporarily redeployed HGVqualified staff working in other roles to its transport department. Among them are area sales managers. Sales director Kathryn Jones said: “We are currently short of drivers, especially Class 2 HGV. Driving a multidrop vehicle for Castell Howell is a very different proposition to driving a limited drop schedule. Consequently, it has been challenging to fill these vacancies.” Delivery to the wholesaler from suppliers is also being

affected by the UK-wide shortage of haulage drivers. Castell Howell has changed its ordering process to improve its own deliveries, with earlier cut-off times. JJ Foodservice is now offering savings of up to 30% when customers collect their order. The Collect & Save campaign has been launched to help reduce the pressure on its HGV drivers. Customers who collect usually save up to 15% on the delivery price. This will increase to up to 30% when they buy five or more cases of selected products.

Industry bodies, including the FWD, have been calling on the Government to adopt measures to alleviate the driver shortage such as speeding up the qualification process for new drivers, and allowing hauliers from the EU and beyond to fill vacancies in the UK. An announcement by the Government that HGV drivers’ permitted hours will be temporarily extended from 12 July has been welcomed by the FWD. Chief executive James Bielby commented: “This is just what food distributors needed. “The flexibility in drivers’ hours means those out-ofthe-way shops, pubs and restaurants will get the stock they need for the big reopening on Freedom Day, and will allow wholesalers to do as much as 15% more deliveries each day.” a CJ Lang (01382) 512100 a Castell Howell (01269) 846080 a JJ Foodservice (01992) 701701 a FWD (01323) 724952

Staff bonus after 50% rise in turnover Parfetts has awarded all of its staff a tax-free 4% bonus after boosting its turnover by 50% to £570 million in 2020. The move follows a series of bonuses throughout the year to recognise the hard work of staff during lock-

down and the period of unprecedented growth. The surge in turnover is partly attributed to the rapidly expanding Go Local fascia, which is now used by over 850 retail outlets. Another reason for the strong performance, says the company, is that it maintained promotions during lockdowns and restrictions. It also expanded its delivered service into the Midlands and saw its online presence grow to over 40% of orders. Guy Swindell, joint MD (designate), said: “Everyone

at Parfetts has gone above and beyond to help retailers navigate the challenges of lockdowns and restrictions across our regions.” In other news, Parfetts has appointed Steve Moore

as head of retail. Moore (pictured) previously spent 16 years at Costcutter, most recently as regional business director responsible for sales and recruitment. Before that he was a business development manager at Booker, and he also previously worked at Scottish & Newcastle in a retail development role. In his new job, Moore will manage a team of 25 business development managers across the North and Midlands. a Parfetts 0161-429 0429

July 2021



Category guidance Unitas Wholesale has introduced a new Plan for Profit Licensed & Tobacco category guide. It includes a new wine section, which has been developed with several key suppliers using specific data for the symbols and independents channel.

Booker records 9.2% rise Booker increased sales by 9.2% to nearly £1.8 billion in the 13 weeks to 29 May 2021. This rise was driven by a 68% improvement in sales to caterers as lockdown restrictions were eased. Another contributing factor was a ‘significant recovery’ in the performance of Best Food Logistics, which was acquired by Booker in early March 2020. Meanwhile, Booker’s sales to independent retailers declined by 4.3% during the same period. This followed significant growth (23.8%) in the same quarter last year due to the effects of the pandemic on shopper behaviour.

Compared with the same trading period two years ago – before any lockdowns were implemented – Booker’s total sales were up by 3.1%. Commenting on Booker’s performance, Ken Murphy, CEO of parent company Tesco, said: “I’m pleased to

see Booker recovering strongly as the ‘eat out’ market starts to open up. I’m confident that we’ll continue to do well against the market by maintaining our relentless focus on customer satisfaction.” a Booker (01933) 371000

Electric switch by Lomond Retailers will also find further insights on lager & beer, cider, craft ale, spirits and the emerging hard seltzers category to help them better understand and grow these areas in store. Price-marked and VAT exempt (zero-rated) products are also highlighted in the guidance. In addition, Unitas has released two new ‘Focus On‘ mini category guides. The first deals with personal care and is sponsored by P&G, while the second covers crisps, snacks & nuts and is supported by KP Snacks. Unitas now has 12 ‘Focus On’ mini category guides covering a wide range of grocery, impulse and licensed categories to complement its recently published 2021 Plan for Profit core range guides. Printed and digital versions are available. a Unitas Wholesale (01302) 249909 08

July 2021

Lomond – The Wholesale Food Co has added six electric vehicles to its company car fleet. “We’re firmly committed to reducing our impact on the environment and our target is to move our full sales team over to electric cars by the end of 2021,” said director Barbara Henderson. In addition, the company has ordered 20 new hybrid refrigeration 7.5-tonne vehicles and it will soon be trialling a fully electric commercial vehicle to deliver to customers in the Glasgow area.

The introduction of electric vehicles is just one element of the wholesaler’s commitment to increasing its sustainability. It has recently installed an air curtain door on its 1,000 pallet freezer chamber to prevent the escape of cold air, and it has also pledged to source products locally where possible. Meanwhile, the Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) has moved into phase 2 of its decarbonisation project designed to help members and the wider wholesale sector become greener.

Phase 1 of the project has seen the SWA evaluate the emissions associated with its members’ vehicle fleets. The results are being analysed and the wholesalers will be presented with options to help reduce their emissions. In addition, the SWA is creating a toolkit to help members calculate and keep track of their vehicle emissions. Phase 2 will examine emissions from buildings, including warehousing, cold storage and offices, and the energy consumed by them. The results, combined with those of phase 1, will enable the SWA to calculate the carbon footprint of the wholesale sector in Scotland. Chief executive Colin Smith said: “All of this gives SWA a baseline and allows us to draw a route map to net zero for our sector.” a Lomond – The Wholesale Food Co 0141-353 6777 a SWA 0131-556 8753


Steve Irons returns to CJ Lang CJ Lang & Son has appointed Steve Irons as wholesale & new channels director. He joins the SPAR Scotland wholesaler and retailer from Best Food Logistics – a division of Booker – where he was wholesale controller. In total, Irons (pictured) has over 26 years of experience in the wholesale, foodservice, convenience and FMCG sectors. He actually started his career with CJ Lang and spent 16 years with the company in different roles, including general manager of the Dundee branch and foodservice controller. He joined Batleys in 2011 as contracts manager and stayed with the business when it was acquired by Bestway. He then moved to Booker in 2016, working as

James A Barry Barry Group, one of Ireland’s leading wholesale and distribution companies, has announced the death of its founder, James A. Barry (left). “From his early days of founding Barry Group in 1955, James A. was a formidable force in the trade who was respected and cherished by many,” said a statement from the family-run firm. “Beginning his career selling ice cream, fruit and vegetables to independent retailers across Munster, James A’s entrepreneurial spirit was further fuelled as he developed his business with the support of his wife Pauline.” a Barry Group (00353) 22 30100

national accounts controller for more than four years. In his new role at CJ Lang, Irons takes on responsibility for leading the development and growth of the company’s presence in the wholesale and foodservice markets. In other news, CJ Lang has moved up five places to the No.3 spot in the latest Advantage Group report. More than 200 suppliers participated in the annual survey, which identifies

strengths and opportunities for suppliers and their customers to build better engagement and better commercial results. The suppliers evaluated the performance of CJ Lang and a peer group of 11 other businesses within the wholesale and convenience sectors. These were AF Blakemore/ Blakemore Retail, Appleby Westward, Booker Retail Partners (including Budgens and Londis), Booths, Costcutter (excluding Nisa/Co-op), Hendersons, James Hall, JW Filshill (KeyStore), McColl’s, Nisa Retail, and SPAR UK. The wholesalers were rated on business relationship, personnel & organisation, category & business development, operational execution, supply chain management and payment processes. a CJ Lang (01382) 512100

Stores director Appleby Westward, the regional distribution company for SPAR stores in the south-west, has appointed a new company-owned stores director to its executive team at Saltash. Dean Mason (right) joins the wholesaler and retailer after 16 years with Midcounties Co-op, where he was latterly head of central operations. He also previously worked for Somerfield. “We are continuing to invest heavily in our companyowned stores division, with new stores being added to the portfolio and many existing stores enjoying re-fits,” said Appleby Westward’s managing director Mike Boardman. “Dean’s wide-ranging experience sees him well

placed to contribute to the excellent ongoing development of our retail estate.” Mason replaces Steve Goswell, who has left the company after two years in the role. Phil Darch, who is company-owned stores operations director, is retiring at the same time. a Appleby Westward (01752) 854000

Sugro promotion Sugro UK has promoted Tabitha Hunter-Smale (pictured) from business development manager to head of business development. Sugro managing director Neil Turton said: “Tabitha has delivered exceptional results over the last three years and especially during the pandemic, keeping in touch with members, sustaining relationships and developing new business, as well as presenting two successful online conferences. We are delighted to recognise this with a promotion.” a Sugro UK (01270) 628728

Vegan mayo Country Range Group has launched a new Vegan Mayo. The product has been made to provide “a thicker, creamier and more luxurious mouth feel”. It contains no allergens and comes in a 2.27-litre jar to help chefs cut down on waste. Some 500,000 people signed up for Veganuary this year, and an estimated one in four new products in the UK are now vegan. Kate Bancroft, CRG marketing manager, said: “It’s vital that operators of all sizes are able to cater to the growing vegan and plantbased market.” a Country Range Group (0845) 209 3777

July 2021


[ INDUSTRY NEWS ] New at NBC Jura Trading, a specialist foodservice C&C/wholesaler and exporter based in Enfield, Middlesex, has joined National Buying Consortium (NBC). Established in 2017, Jura Trading offers a range of fresh, chilled, ambient and frozen products to pubs, hotels and restaurants. The company also has a selection of own-brand products, including Jura basil seed drinks, Mokku Mokku children’s juice drinks, Jura canned mackerel, and Jura organic virgin coconut oil. A nationwide delivery service from its 10,000 sq ft distribution centre complements its cash & carry facility, and its export division distributes branded British products worldwide. a Jura Trading 020-8443 3388 a NBC (01608) 692410

Management tool

Brakes, in partnership with technology firm Nutritics, has launched Virtual Chef Online, a suite of online recipe and menu management tools for foodservice operators. Features include: a Recipe analysis to automatically calculate cost and nutrition and highlight allergens. a Menu management for gross profit and sales analysis alongside options such as

displaying the customer menu on a TV screen or tablet. a Customised label maker and label printing solution to assist with Natasha’s Law compliance. a Cost, sustainability and waste analysis. a Real-time access to Brakes’ portfolio of 12,000 products and prices. Adam Collett, UK marketing and digital director at Brakes, told Cash & Carry Management: “As well as simplifying the entire menu development process, increasing efficiency and reducing food waste, Virtual Chef Online will make it easier for our customers to comply with current food regulations, as well as upcoming legislation such as Natasha’s Law.” a Brakes (01233) 206000

Licorice deal Hancocks has become the exclusive UK distributor for the American Licorice Company, whose products include Red Vines, Super Ropes and Sour Punch. Helen Bradshaw, director of marketing & sales at Hancocks, said: “We’ve seen American candy grow in popularity recently so to be able to secure exclusive distribution in the UK for The American Licorice Company is wonderful news for us and our customers.” Hancocks stocks the widest range of American confectionery brands in the UK and all are compliant with UK food legislation. a Hancocks (01509) 216644

Hot food trends for the rest of the year Bidfood has highlighted the food and drink trends that it believes will dominate menus for the rest of the year: Wellness my way: 68% of consumers say the pandemic has made them more concerned about their health and wellbeing. People are optimising their physical and mental health through the food and drink they consume and the lifestyles they live. Life-stage targeting is a new sub-trend highlighted by Bidfood, and there are also growing trends towards products that offer functional benefits, including digestive wellness, as well as light & low products.

more about whether their food is ethically sourced or impacts the environment than they did pre-pandemic, there are growing trends towards plant-based alternatives, wasting less, ethics in action, and greater transparency in the supply chain.

Careful consumption: With 49% of UK consumers caring

Cuisines: With restrictions on travel again this year,


July 2021

many people are leaning towards food that brings to life their culinary adventures and excites their senses. In fact, 52% of UK consumers say they want to be more experimental with their food choices than they were before the pandemic. Established cuisines such as Middle Eastern continue to expand, but there are also some new trends, including: a Regional Chinese – Expect to see more regionally inspired dishes using Cantonese cooking styles, spicy Sichuan flavours, or dishes like Shanghai dumplings and steamed bao. a Flavours of South East Asia – Consumers are moving beyond the traditional Thai green curry and instead exploring regional influences

and discovering flavours of Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. a Caribbean – Jamaican ‘jerk’ flavour is rising in popularity and is being increasingly applied to a variety of foods, including rabbit, pork belly and burgers. a Korean – This cuisine is all about the ingredients, techniques and flavours. Bidfood also points out that cleanliness and safety have never been more important to consumers, and that these factors often overtake price on consumers’ agendas when eating out (CGA). Other key factors top of mind for consumers are quality and ‘something a bit different’. a Bidfood (01494) 555900


Where have all the drivers gone? Ben Davies (pictured below), director of Bradford-based agency Driver Supply Ltd, considers the causes of the current HGV driver shortage that is affecting wholesale and many other industries.


lthough Brexit will have had some impact on the repatriation of some drivers, any thoughts of these returning in a hurry to the UK should be dispelled. Many of these will have been operating under what they considered to be ‘outside IR35’ – in other words not an employee – and they therefore enjoyed lucrative tax benefits which are now no longer available to them under new legislation that came into effect in April 2021. Not only will many drivers have

‘A mere sticking plaster’ “Effective from 12 July, the Government ‘relaxed’ the drivers’ hours rules which means that a driver who normally drives a maximum of nine hours per day (10 twice a week) can now extend these limits to 10 hours per day – every day! “Extending these safety limits for an already overworked key workforce seems not only ludicrous and unsafe but a mere sticking plaster for a problem which has still not registered its severity with those in power. “Many hauliers are point-blank refusing to jeopardise the safety of their drivers or other road users by utilising this forthcoming allowance. Once again the Government would do well to listen to people with an understanding of the situation rather than making ill-conceived decisions in order to paper over the cracks.” Ben Davies, Driver Supply Ltd


July 2021

since found employment elsewhere – either in their homeland or in other countries within the EU – but they may also be reluctant to return to the UK for fear of backdated taxes being imposed due to historical IR35 investigation. Most Ltd Co drivers did not want to take full-time/PAYE jobs as they enjoyed significant tax benefits and the freedom and choice associated with being ‘selfemployed’. This is an area the Government would do well to reconsider as there was previously a raft of drivers who had other legitimate business interests but were available for ad-hoc driving shifts. For example, a self-employed painter and decorator may have previously been available for weekend work (subject to meeting the relevant rest requirements) whereas now they would be reluctant because they would only be employed under PAYE regulations. This leads on to the reasoning behind the significant rate increases being forced upon agencies by drivers looking to fill the gap between their previous Ltd Co wages and the lower PAYE wages. This rate increase is then passed on to the haulier which in turn passes it on to their customers and eventually (though many are unaware) the consumer! Apparently there are 30,000 LGV tests in the pipeline, waiting to be taken, yet DVSA examiners were furloughed (many until very recently), causing ridiculous backlogs. Many, if not most, ‘new passes’ also then face the hurdle of the ‘qualifying experience’ clause introduced by the insurance industry, stipulating that

drivers must have a minimum 12 months’ experience driving a vehicle of the relative class in order to be covered by insurance. This is despite having satisfied a DVSA examiner of their competency in that specific class of vehicle! Either the haulier stumps up a considerable additional cost on their premium (for each driver within that category) along with an increased excess on the policy or, as many new drivers seem to think, they go down the agency route. Unfortunately they are often met with a similar response due to driver negligence insurance, demanded by most customers, insisting on the same experience criteria as placed on the hauliers. This then leaves new drivers with little or no option, and many return to a previous role outside of driving. This is yet another area that the Government is doing too little about – it should outlaw this insurance practice thereby allowing qualified drivers to enter the industry. Other reasons why there is a driver shortage include: a Poor treatment by warehouse/distribution centre staff – from security on arrival through to office staff on (often delayed) departure. a Disgusting facilities at unsecured, overpriced parking areas, and the lack of these parking areas. An easy fix for the Government would be to commandeer suitable large parking areas underutilised during the hours many HGVs would be parked up; the reduction and removal of restrictions by private parking companies at many (perfectly acceptable) locations; and insistence on suitable parking facilities ‘built in’ to all new industrial planning applications. a Older drivers leaving the industry because of what they perceive as unjustified additional training and constant harassment by authorities. a Unsociable hours and lack of work-life balance. a Harassment and abuse from other road users. Hopefully the recent wage increases will go some way to appease current drivers and maybe even attract some new blood into a dying profession. Time CCM will tell.


Where have all the chefs gone? Andrew Green (right), chief executive of the Craft Guild of Chefs – the leading chefs’ association in the UK – discusses why there is such a shortage of staff in the hospitality industry.


s we resurface from what we hope is the third and final lockdown over the last 17 months, all that many of us want to do is go out and enjoy the Great British hospitality, whether it be in a local pub, casual dining restaurant, or something a little more luxurious. Easy you might say, but in some areas it is far from easy! After laying off chefs, waiting staff, housekeepers, etc, or putting them on to the Government’s furlough scheme, restaurants now need these staff back, but where are they? There are several reasons for the absence of this endangered species, and while COVID has played a major part, this issue predates the pandemic. Brexit started the decline – when we were talking about what was going to happen when the UK left the EU, a great many chefs began to drift back to their homelands. These people were the backbone of many restaurants and hotels, and many of them had been in the UK for years. There was uncertainty, and a fear factor of being deported if they did not have the correct papers, and as a result a lot of chefs started to return home before what they thought would be a mass exodus. Of course, most of us knew that they would not be deported, or at least hoped that it would not happen, but we did not have proper assurances. This was towards the end of 2019. Roll on to spring 2020 and expectations were high that hospitality would recover from the departure of these staff and have a good summer season. But then, with the bombshell of COVID and lockdown one, everything changed overnight. Hospitality took the brunt of the pain,

with restaurants, cafés, hotels and the like all being closed. At the start of the pandemic in the UK, there was no assistance from the Government, so the quick option was to lay off staff. To be fair to the Government, it did come up with a plan in the shape of the furlough scheme, but for many it was too late. So now of course we need our chefs, waiting staff, housekeepers and other employees back, but they have disappeared. All I have had over the last few weeks are phone calls and emails asking how to recruit staff, but the simple fact is that we have a major shortfall of resources. There have been cases where restaurant owners have been offering

up to £1,000 bonuses to encourage staff to return for the summer season, and with a staycation being high on the agenda for many, there is a large call for staff within the coastal areas. Another large percentage of former hospitality employees have found jobs outside the industry, with many earning the same and working fewer and more sociable hours. One chef that I know about, who previously worked in London as a midrange chef, started with his uncle’s painting company. He is now working Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 3.30pm, with weekends and evenings off – and he is earning the same money as when he was a chef. The search for a better work-life balance is one reason why there are so many job vacancies in hospitality; another reason is that a lot of catering colleges around the country have closed their doors. The loss of some of the very best learning establishments in the UK is adding to fewer people coming into the industry at the bottom rung of the ladder. At the Craft Guild of Chefs, we have campaigned for a Minister for Hospitality, but although this was debated, nothing has yet come of it. Until that happens, and until the other issues are addressed, we may go furCCM ther backward as an industry.

Many chefs have found jobs outside hospitality that offer a better work-life balance.

July 2021



Offering a whole lot more S&W has strengthened its position in Ireland by broadening its retail options to appeal to both independent retailers and symbol operators, explains MD Michael Skelton.


anked among Northern Ireland’s top 100 businesses by respected global analytics firm Dun & Bradstreet, the wholesaler Savage & Whitten – or S&W as it is now known – rebranded its offering last year, promising ‘A Whole Lot More’ for its customers. In March, the company made good on that promise by launching a new, exclusive symbol brand called Nearby. Managing director Michael Skelton (above), has over 30 years of experience in the wholesale industry. He joined S&W in 2010 as sales manager to develop its symbol business and was promoted to sales director in 2013 and then MD in September 2019. Since then he has successfully steered the company through the challenges of both the COVID-19 crisis and Brexit. He spoke to Cash & Carry Management about the business and his plans for further growth: 14

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Since taking over as managing director in 2019, how have you developed the S&W business? S&W has experienced phenomenal growth over the last five years, with an annual increase of 22% in 2020. This uplift is down to our ability to service both independent and symbol retailers, as well as the expansion of S&W symbol brands (Nearby, Today’s and Primo) throughout Ireland. With the significant growth in the business and workforce, we felt that the time was right to invest in our brand, and the latter part of 2020 marked an exciting new direction with a new look and feel for the business. This has brought to the fore our brand promise to offer ‘A Whole Lot More’ to our customers, clients, suppliers and wider communities within Ireland. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic challenges to our sector, as a team we

continue to establish ourselves as a significant powerhouse in Ireland. Our symbol offering continues to grow throughout the island as we have introduced a new concept into the convenience market with Nearby. How many retailers does S&W service now and how many are symbol group customers? At S&W, we service over 2,500 customers across the island of Ireland. We have experienced significant growth in the Republic of Ireland (ROI) over the last five years and as a result our customers are split almost half in Northern Ireland and half in ROI. More than 160 customers display one of the S&W symbol brands – and this figure is increasing year on year. We have been strengthening our position as the No.1 wholesale partner of choice by broadening our retail

[ BEHIND THE SCENES ] options. Our new convenience brand, Nearby (see page 16), forms part of our wider modernisation strategy, and we will be combining our wholesale offering with our retail concepts in our marketing. Our position throughout Ireland is not just a wholesale business but rather the full package, offering an attractive retail proposition for independent retailers and also showcasing the scope for next-day delivery to stores and investment in our IT retail systems. What was the thinking behind your relaunch of the S&W brand? We wanted to establish a brand promise based on a truth (the fact that we offer ‘A Whole Lot More’) and to communicate that with impact in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Our aspiration went further than just a brand logo refresh – we wanted to rebrand our culture, bring our 250+ employees along with us on this journey, while defining our mission and personality so that all our stakeholders can relate to it. This had to be across the entire business: wholesale, retail, trade, staff and customers. Our research revealed a core truth and differentiator that captured the essence of S&W – the fact that as a business and a team of people we go above and beyond for our customers. It is what has made S&W successful and a key part of how we plan to offer ‘A Whole Lot More’ going forward.

S&W drivers deliver to 2,500+ customers, including 160 symbol retailers, in Ireland.

How has your customer proposition changed over the past few years? Over the last five years we have moved to achieving our goal of 100% delivered business. COVID-19 and impending restrictions expedited our attainment of this goal since March 2020. In addition, during the pandemic, our sales team were unable to physically visit the stores during lockdown and consequently more customers moved online, and this trend has continued. Now over 80% of all orders received are either via the e-commerce website or via customers’ EPoS tills – a great result which has also brought more efficiencies in the warehouse. S&W’s online ordering experience

There are more than 5,000 lines stocked at S&W’s warehouse in Newry, Co Down.

gives customers 24/7 benefits, including allowing them to easily check stock availability, explore NPD and check their account balance. Most importantly it saves them time. This year will see further investment in our IT systems, including an upgraded website to help the user experience

Brand promise that captures the essence S&W’s brand promise is ‘A Whole Lot More’. Michael Skelton, managing director, explains: “This captures the essence of S&W – the fact that as a business and a team of people, we go above and beyond for our customers. It’s what has made S&W successful.” ‘A Whole Lot More’ is underpinned by: a Next-day delivery to many parts of the island of Ireland using a fleet of 60 vehicles. a 24/7 ordering facilitated through a full e-commerce website. a An offering of more than 5,000 products and an additional 4,000 lines via direct shipment. a A comprehensive chilled, fresh and frozen offering serviced by 100,000 sq ft of warehousing. a 17 promotional campaigns per year in both Euro and Sterling. a Flexible symbols with bespoke signage and branding packages without membership fees.

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[ BEHIND THE SCENES ] online, and the introduction of Microsoft Business Central, which will improve efficiencies across the business. We have responded to the needs and demands of our customers over the years, and one of our main focus points in 2021 has been digital, with investment in activity on various social channels, reducing the volume of printed material and lowering our carbon footprint. More customers are keen to view our promotional material online and we are excited to roll out our website improvements over the coming months. How have you developed your product ranges over the past couple of years? S&W have an extensive ‘one stop shop’ offering of more than 5,000 stocked products covering all categories including ambient, chilled, fresh and frozen, as well as 4,000 lines available via central billing (direct shipment). We have recently increased warehouse capacity for our frozen ranges, responding to the increased customer demand for products in this category. How has Brexit affected the business? The new post-Brexit trading arrangements along with the Northern Ireland

S&W in numbers

Post-Brexit, S&W has new processes to ensure it still offers a seamless service.

Protocol, effective January 2021, mean that Northern Ireland is now operating different regulatory and Customs arrangements to the rest of the UK, as the region is remaining in the EU single market for goods and is applying EU Customs rules at its ports. Customs declarations and some additional checks are now required on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, but trade in the other direction remains largely unfettered. At S&W we have implemented new processes and ways of working with our suppliers to ensure we continue to offer a seamless best-in-trade service.

100,000 sq ft warehouse and head office in Newry, Co Down £126 million turnover in 2020, +22% on 2019 9,000+ product lines (5,000 stocked and 4,000 via direct shipment) 2,500 customers, which include 160 symbol operators 250+ employees 60 delivery vehicles 80% of orders now online

What challenges do you face working in both the pound sterling and the euro? We operate a successful wholesale and symbol business model from our Northern Ireland head office for both our NI sterling and Republic of Ireland euro customers and consumers. Whilst there may be variations to VAT, tariffs and currency, we have advanced IT systems that help to manage this with ease, ensuring that our customers have the best-in-trade range and value for their market in both sterling and the euro. For example, we operate 17 promotional campaigns per year in both CCM currencies.

Helping retailers connect with shoppers on a more personal level Exclusive to S&W, the Nearby symbol group is designed to help independent retailers forge deeper connections with people in their local community. “After extensive research into the convenience market, we’ve identified the need for a new symbol brand to


July 2021

help retailers connect with their consumers on a more personal level,” explains Maurice Little, Nearby NI sales manager. “The Nearby brand will help refresh the look and feel of convenience stores, while keeping the core elements that customers know and love.”

Launched in March, the new symbol group already includes 30 retail stores across Ireland, with more in line to become members, reports S&W. Retailers joining Nearby retain total control of their business and have no marketing fees, weekly advertising commitments or long-term contract. “We offer an attractive brand, bespoke signage, consumer promotional activity, central billing and a dedicated business development manager,” says Little. The Nearby group works in partnership with local suppliers, including fresh food growers and bakeries, to offer a wide selection of local produce for their community. Nearby also has a strong focus on food to go with its ‘Always Fresh’ concept, which covers fresh sandwiches, salads and graband-go lunches, as well as the S&Wexclusive CuPPA coffee offering with its own loyalty scheme.


Let’s drink to category success! Vodka may have been overshadowed by the surge in popularity of gin in recent years but it remains in growth, and supplier innovation is keeping it exciting. Kevin Whitlock reports.


odka remains the UK’s most popular spirit – and a lot of the growth within the vodka category has been driven by ready-to-drink products (RTDs). “The RTD category is in a prolonged period of extremely strong growth in the impulse sector, with sales up 47% versus 12 months ago and up 74% compared to two years ago (Nielsen),” says Alison Gray, head of brand – WKD, at owner SHS Drinks. “In more normal times, the big selling points for RTDs are convenience, portability and sociability but over the last 16 months – when many people had more time than they knew what to do with, went to fewer places than ever before, and were forced to be less sociable than they’d ever wish – the reasons for RTD popularity were different: RTDs delivered a much-needed slice of ‘fun’ and they embodied more than a passing nod to happier times. “Couple those attributes with the fact that, for many people, RTDs are the closest representations of the types of drinks they erstwhile might have bought in the on-trade, then the somewhat unexpected correlation between RTD sales and lockdown life is largely explained.” Hannah Dawson, head of category development, off-trade at Smirnoff maker Diageo, agrees: “With the increased demand in the off-trade, RTD is continuing to hold its own in the off-trade and is now growing slightly ahead of the current

Funkin good campaign Funkin Cocktails has launched its new ‘Best Served Everywhere’ nationwide summer campaign. The multi-channel marketing campaign is the brand’s biggest yet, with a £1 million-plus investment spend and an expected 9.5 million cocktail consumer reach. Until later this month, Funkin Cocktails will station more than 4,600 static and digital six-sheet billboards advertising the brand’s various cocktails, including the vodka-based Passion Fruit Martini Nitro Cans. The locations will be highfootfall high street spots, near to retail outlets, in 15 UK cities. The campaign will also include digital advertising on some of the UK’s largest websites, social media activity, sponsorship of the Summer Hits UK playlist on Spotify and a Funkin roadshow at UK festivals (subject to COVID-19 restrictions).

off-trade beers, wines & spirits market at 28.7% (Nielsen), fuelled by innovation and brands catering to the consumer preference for high-quality and convenient drinks. “When we refer to convenience in this instance, it is not always the ability to ‘drink now’ but also allowing people to explore categories and try different things at different times. “We saw hard seltzers enter the RTD category in the UK in summer 2019, following success in the US, where they are forecast to grow in volume by 20.9% (2019 to 2024, IWSR). Now, as we look ahead to the warmer months, we expect this growth in hard seltzers to fuel further growth in the UK RTD category, alongside the key areas of pre-mix, including non-alcoholic pre-mix, cocktails and flavoured alcoholic beverages, such as Smirnoff Ice. “Now is the perfect time for retailers to think carefully about how to maximise the profitability of their RTD range and include hard seltzers to appeal to even more people and occasions.” Dawson adds: “When it comes to building an RTDs range, we know people naturally gravitate towards brands they know and trust – relying on them for great quality and taste, which results in a high rate of sale. Choose big brands such as Smirnoff, the number one contributor to value growth of total vodka (IWSR), alongside lesser-known or newer brands, to aid exploration. This is particularly important as we want to encourage new consumers into the category.” Meanwhile, in the flavoured vodka segment – which is experiencing the fastest growth within the vodka category, up 30% versus 2019 (Nielsen) – Diageo has introduced Smirnoff Raspberry Crush (37.5% abv). Available in a 70cl bottle (rsp £16.50), the new drink has natural raspberry flavours. The launch of Smirnoff Raspberry Crush will be supported with a £2.93 million marketing investment to “disrupt the market and make a distinctive entrance to the category”. Nick Payman, head of Smirnoff, comments: “Smirnoff Raspberry Crush is a big step towards further invigorating and adding excitement to the vodka category. The vibrancy of the new pack and liquid, from its colour to its taste, will provide maximum shelf stand-out and menu appeal for the trade to capitalise on. “The new launch gives consumers the opportunity to enjoy vodka serves at a wide range of events, from casual, early evening occasions to elevated experiences and gettogethers, and focuses on creating fun, delicious serves.”

July 2021



[ VODKA & RTDS ] Halewood Artisanal Spirits, owner of the award-winning JJ Whitley craft gin and vodka distiller, also has a big new launch – a 38% abv gold filtered variant of its artisanal Russian Vodka, complete with a dazzling gold bottle (rsp £16). This latest addition to the portfolio is distilled at the JJ Whitley distillery in St Petersburg using premium quality Russian winter wheat and water. It is then slowly passed through a filter of fine gold silk thread to produce a smooth, premium quality vodka. The new bottle features the distinctive embossed detail of the JJ Whitley range, complete with an eye-catching gold finish which, Halewood says, is “guaranteed to stand out on shelf”. James Stocker, Halewood’s marketing director, comments: “We have been investing heavily in our JJ Whitley Vodka portfolio and our new distillery in St Petersburg, which enables us to provide our customers with a quality, authentic Russian vodka at great price point. “Our Artisanal Russian Vodka has gone on to win a number of gold medals at internationally recognised awards, and is now the fastest growing top 10 vodka range (Nielsen). “Our new limited-edition JJ Whitely Gold Vodka is a fitting tribute to its gold-award-winning success, providing retailers with a unique proposition which taps into multiple shopper occasions. From those looking to treat themselves or find something special to mark a celebration, or even as a great gift option, we’re confident that it will present a strong sales opportunity for retailers this summer.” Another intriguing launch is the first-ever vodka from Belgium, Mary White, available from distributor Ten Locks. This 40% abv spirit celebrates the pioneering legacy of Mary White – the uncrowned queen of New York bootleggers – who turned the male-dominated world of alcohol production in the Prohibition era on its head. Becky Davies, head of commercial at Ten Locks, says: “Mary White vodka uses a malt distillate, macerated in tailormade pure grain alcohol from rye and corn. The 100% pure single expression is expertly refined and well balanced with cereal-like notes of bread dough and a touch of lemon spice. The malt distillate works in harmony with its citrusy flavour to create a versatile earthiness suited to classic martinis, experimental cocktails and contemporary flavoured mixers.” The rsp is £35 per 70cl bottle. As market leader, WKD from SHS Drinks is also doing its bit to innovate and add excitement to the sector: it is introducing a range of pre-mixed bottled cocktails specifically for the take-home market. Delivering all the taste but with none of the hassle associated with mix-your-own recipes, WKD Cocktails are being launched to the wholesale channel this month (July). Presented in striking 700ml sharing bottles and offered in two varieties – Blue Lagoon and Tropical Sunrise – WKD Cocktails are aimed at 18 to 24-year-olds. With premium packaging, pre-mixed ingredients and a 5.5% abv, the 20

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WKD partners with Love Island As part of an exclusive deal with ITV, WKD is ‘coupling up’ with Love Island, the popular reality show featuring a cast of singles hoping to find love in the sun and win a cash prize in the process (latest series is on air now). WKD is the Official Alcohol Partner and its deal comprises broadcast media, co-branded limited-edition pack designs for WKD Pink 700ml, an offer on multipacks giving consumers the chance to win Love Island and WKD merchandise, and extensive social and digital content. The last summer series of Love Island attracted an average of 5.9 million viewers and the show became the most watched digital channel programme ever, winning the 9pm slot every night for 18-34 year-olds in the process.

products will be available across take-home in standard packs, with £4.99 price-marked versions also offered exclusively for independents. In Blue Lagoon (an alcoholic mix of WKD Blue blended with citrus, berry and vodka flavours) and Tropical Sunrise (an alcoholic mix of WKD Orange & Passionfruit blended with citrus, strawberry and vodka flavours), SHS Drinks has drawn inspiration from cocktail menus and focused on flavours that its consumers know. SHS head of brand Alison Gray says: “With the RTD category in the take-home impulse sector currently growing at 53% annually (Nielsen) and bottles the fastest-growing format within RTDs (+67% MAT), WKD is bringing premium, yet accessible, bottled cocktails to a receptive off-trade audience. “With lockdown experiences having generated a 50% increase in the number of on-trade cocktail drinkers seeking mixed drinks or cocktails at home we believe that categoryleading WKD is perfectly poised to amplify this opportunity for independent retailers.” A programme of in-depot and in-outlet activity – including display and bespoke activation – is set to support the launch, while a communications campaign will build consumer awareness through social media, influencer activity and PR. Gray continues: “We’ve done all the hard work so consumers don’t have to worry about equipment, recipes or ingredients to mix the perfect drink. We believe that WKD will recruit a different consumer profile to the existing ready-toserve category and our new cocktails will encourage trading up and deliver increased value to independent retailers and convenience stores.”

[ VODKA & RTDS ] Hand-crafted to a secret formula Horizons Group is a London-based global distributor of premium spirits, working with craft distillers around the world. One of its biggest sellers is the Emperor Superior Vodka brand, a five-times distilled vodka, filtered in a classic copper still, hand-crafted to a secret formula by master distillers from one of Europe’s oldest distilleries, with more than 300 years of heritage in creating the finest premium vodka. Emperor is available in an Original (40% abv) variety, and there are a number of flavoured versions available, perfect for mixing or drinking neat: Passion Fruit, Watermelon, Lychee, Mojito Vodka and Chocolate (all 38% abv). Will Brown, Horizons’ head of sales, comments: “I have spent over 20 years in the UK drinks industry across all sectors and am delighted to now head up the UK sales team at the Horizons Group London. “We have an exciting range of products that we will be launching over the coming months. Our aim is to raise the bar in terms of quality of packaging and of the liquids we offer our customers and consumers alike. Very exciting times ahead for the company!”

Fiona Nicholls, brand manager at Kingsland Drinks, points out that the packaging format of many RTDs has contributed to the category’s growth. “Canned RTDs are a perfect option for on-the-go drinking occasions – they’re portable, can be consumed directly from the can, and can be disposed of and recycled easily. We predict that canned RTDs will likely see a boost in sales among cash & carries once restrictions are further lifted over summer, the weather brightens, and festivals and events are back on the calendar.” Kingsland Drinks offers two canned RTD brands to cash & carries – Vin Crowd and Mix Up, the latter spirit-based (including a Vodka, Lemonade & Lime variety). Both are vegan-friendly, which taps into a macro trend for products created without the use of animal products.

Seltzer fizzes As outlined by commentators above, hard seltzers – a drink invented in and hugely popular (retail sales are almost $3bn per annum) in the US – have grown in popularity over the past year or so in the UK. Consisting of a (usually) neutral spirit like vodka with carbonated water, hard seltzers are currently worth approximately £10.4 million (Nielsen) in the UK and are forecast to grow by 34% by 2024 (IWSR). Coupled with the recent explosion of the RTD category 22

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and 13.7 million UK consumers being open to trying hard seltzers, there is a prime opportunity for the trade to capitalise on the category. Japanese drinks giant Asahi’s UK subsidiary announced its entry into the category last month June with Viper Hard Seltzer (4% abv). It is available in two flavour variants – Lime, and Cranberry, in 330ml single can and bottle formats with just 96 calories per unit. The launch of Viper Hard Seltzer is being backed by an experimental sampling campaign, as well as activation at consumer events and festivals nationwide. Molson Coors Beverage Company is investing around £5 million in its new hard seltzer brand Three Fold – the biggest brand investment the company has ever made into a new category in the UK. Molson Coors was a first mover in the hard seltzer category last year, after signing an exclusive distribution agreement with Bodega Bay. Charlotte Revill, brand manager, says: “All the signs point to hard seltzers being the next drinks category to firmly establish itself in the UK. We expect its rapid growth in the US to be mirrored here. “Three Fold was conceived with mainstream adult appeal in mind, taking recognisable flavour combinations, evolved with the lighter, fresher profile that hard seltzers offer. Consumer taste tests have been resoundingly positive, with our range preferred to an extensive competitor set.” Three Fold comes in three varieties – Red Berries, Tropical and Citrus – is naturally vegan and gluten-free, and each 330ml can contains 4% abv and 93 calories. It is sold as single cans and a variety six-pack. Investment in the brand includes a digital, social and outof-home media campaign. Three Fold will also be the official ‘finisher drink’ at the annual Tough Mudder, one of the CCM world’s most famous mud runs.

For further information: Asahi UK (01932) 428600 Diageo 020-8978 6000 Funkin Cocktails 020-7328 4440 Halewood Artisanal Spirits 0151-4808800 Horizons Group 020-8194 5005 Kingsland Drinks 0161-333 4300 Molson Coors Beverage Company (0345) 6000 888 SHS Drinks (01452) 378500 Ten Locks 0161-333 4300

[ SPOTLIGHT ] Noel Robinson, joint managing director designate, Parfetts and working in a country where no one – apart from a few people in the offices – spoke English was a challenge. The secret to my success was, once again, selecting the right person – on this occasion a very skilled and patient interpreter! I am glad to say that by the time I left there were a few fluent Geordie-speaking Hungarians around! What is your favourite film and song/ piece of music? I still love The Godfather trilogy, and the soundtrack sends shivers down my spine to this day.

‘It’s all about people’ What have been your biggest achievements in work and outside work? I have had many achievements over the years that I am proud of; however, in the aftermath of P&H going out of business, one of my biggest achievements was taking a business plan to Bestway and successfully relaunching Bestway Vans, saving hundreds of jobs in the process. However, I hope my biggest achievement is yet to come!

even at boarding school where I would buy confectionery and then sell it on to the other pupils for a small profit, so a life in FMCG was the natural fit for me. What are your interests outside work and how do you maintain a work-life balance? I would say my family gives me my work-life balance. Work takes over during the week and then I like to spend quality time with family and friends at the weekend. My son (above right) is eight and has just started getting into sport, so Dad’s taxi here I come!

Who has been the biggest inspiration to you? David Marsden (ex commercial director at United Biscuits) had a huge impact on my life and was a big inspiration to me. Early on in my management career, David recognised something in me that I was not aware of. He pointed out that I relied on my personality and business instinct alone, and to truly maximise my potential I needed to develop my technical management and leadership skills. That transformed my career.

How would you describe your personality and what approach do you take in business (and in life)? Outgoing and larger than life. Business is all about people – get the right people with the right knowledge, skills and behaviours, and with great leadership and good management you can achieve incredible things.

What were your ambitions when you were growing up? To play No.9 for Newcastle United and England – I soon realised that it was not going to happen! I always had an interest in buying and selling things,

What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it? In 1995 I went to Hungary to set up a sales and distribution franchise business for Gyori Keksz, which United Biscuits had acquired a few years earlier. Living

If you won a holiday, where would you go and who would you take with you? I have been lucky to visit many places; however, I have never been to Australia and would love to go one day. I would take my family and possibly Alan Shearer so I could carry his bags for all the joy he gave me while at Newcastle United. What would people be surprised to know about you? I played the big bass drum in the ship’s CCM band during my Naval days.

Naval background Noel Robinson attended the Indefatigable Naval College in Anglesey and then joined the Royal Navy at 16. He left after three years and bounced from job to job (including car salesman and apprentice welder) for a couple of years before moving to United Biscuits as a sales rep. He stayed at UB for 10 years covering a number of roles, and he then left to join P&H as national sales manager for the Vans business. Over the years he rose up the ranks to become sales director and MD. In 2018 he went to Bestway to relaunch Bestway Vans and he then took on further responsibility for Bestpets. He joined Parfetts in June 2021 as joint MD (designate) and will take up the full role in January 2022.

July 2021



Golden opportunities

Whether it’s encouraging impulse purchases with promotions, driving trial with NPD or simply reassuring consumers that trusted brands can still fill emotional needs, the summer looks bright for manufacturers in the chocolate category. Siobhan Kielty reports.


hocolate accounts for more than 75% of the value of the confectionery category (Nielsen) and the major manufacturers have striven over the past year to ensure that production and innovation remain strong. While suppliers are hopeful that summer promotions and increased footfall will lift sales for singles bars, the past year’s stay-at-home focus has benefited bigger chocolate blocks and sharing packs. NPD has continued to be high on the agenda for Mars Wrigley UK, which launched Galaxy Orange Block and Galaxy Fusions at the end of last year – along with a bold packaging redesign to celebrate the brand’s 60th anniversary. “As the second biggest confectionery brand in the UK, Galaxy is a familiar household brand that consumers know and love. However, staying on-trend is key to increasing relevancy and recruiting the next generation of consumers for years to come,” explains Nick Reade, VP sales. “With a bold new look and exciting announcements, 2021 is certainly the year of Galaxy.” More awareness-led innovation from the supplier came in the form of 100 kcal bars for Twix, Mars and Snickers. “As a means of catering to the one in four shoppers who say that calorie labelling impacts their 24

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purchase decisions, we have introduced 100kcal (or less) versions across their top three most popular singles bars, allowing consumers to enjoy their favourite sweet treats in a reduced, portionable size,” he says. The manufacturer has also embraced the summer of football that has whipped up consumer excitement, offering shoppers the chance to win experiences and cash through its Win2Gether on-pack promotions. Prizes include a VIP trip to Wembley Stadium, chances to meet football legends and cash prizes of up to £1,000. “For Mars Wrigley, the success of the overall confectionery category is driven by our dynamic innovation programme, which has been received positively by both new and existing shoppers. The impact of innovation alongside our best-selling core range has ensured that sales are strong,” says Reade. Rising consumer awareness of sustainability issues has also prompted the manufacturer to make some adjustments to its packaging, with a tweak to sharing pouches for the Galaxy Counters, Galaxy Minstrels, Revels, Maltesers Buttons, Skittles, Starburst and M&M’s brands. The result of the change is forecast to reduce the plastic used by around 647,000 square metres per year.

During the 2018 Football tournament, an extra 1.4m shopping trips were made1 Confectionery is the second biggest category shopped during major sports events2 1


Source Kantar. From Marketing Week 19 May 2016

STOCK UP NOW TO WIN2GETHER DURING THIS FOOTBALL TOURNAMENT! *UK18+. Max one entry per person, per day. Main promotion runs 05/04/21 – 12/08/21. Wrap Up draw for entries 13/08/21 – 10/01/22. Internet access required. NI free entry. Retain pack. For prize details and full T&Cs visit @2021 Mars or Affiliates.


“Tapping further into consumer demand, Mars Wrigley UK will accelerate its sustainable packaging programme, starting with the reduction of packaging in some of its most popular brands, in an effort to save 51 tonnes of plastic every year,” states Reade. Mondelez recently expanded its chocolate portfolio with a range positioned as a healthier treat. Cadbury Nuttier comprises Peanut & Almond, Cranberry, and Coconut & Almond variants available as single bars to provide a fruit and nut snack carrying the reassurance of a trusted name. Also under the Cadbury brand is a new product that offers something a little different. Cadbury Caramilk is available this month in single bars and tablets, and is made with caramelised white chocolate which has a smooth, luxurious texture. The launch is supported by a campaign that incorporates PR, social media and in-store activity, along with a range of PoS materials. “Cadbury Caramilk is sure to be a hit in the growing chocolate market. In fact, Mondelez tablets are currently experiencing growth of 10% (Nielsen), with the new launch sure to build on this, adding excitement to retailers’ ranges with a delicious new flavour,” says Beatrice Berutti, brand manager. Mondelez has also introduced a promotional feature across its Cadbury best-sellers with a ‘2 for £1.10 or 60p RRP’ label on singles of Cadbury Twirl, Boost, Wispa, Wispa Gold, Double Decker and Crunchie. The promotional packaging will run for three months and is predicted to drive sales and encourage incremental purchasing. Cadbury Dairy Milk has undergone a branding refresh to “reflect the progressive vision of founder John Cadbury”, according to Susan Nash, trade communications manager. She continues: “The new visual identity is being rolled out across the range during 2021, reinforcing the unique and distinctive Cadbury 26

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Dairy Milk assets and product story at a time when consumers are looking for more authentic and higher quality offerings.” Dairy Milk is not the only Cadbury brand with a packaging update to increase on-shelf impact. Single countlines that include Cadbury Twirl, Wispa, Boost, Picnic, Flake and Starbar have similarly seen a revamp to catch the eye of returning on-the-go shoppers. The Dairy Milk brand has also seen the addition of three new bars created by the finalists of the Cadbury Inventor competition. The variants – Roxy’s Cadbury Dairy Milk Fizzing Cherry, Josh’s Cadbury Dairy Milk Banoffee Nut Crumble and Sophie’s Cadbury Dairy Milk No Frownie Brownie – are available in 110g bars for a limited time. Shoppers are being asked to judge which flavour will ultimately return to the shelves next year, with the winner announced in September. “Our deep understanding of consumer needs has enabled us to continue producing exciting new innovations and formats,” says Nash.

‘Our deep understanding of consumer needs has enabled us to continue producing exciting new innovations and formats’ Susan Nash, Mondelez’ trade communications manager Swizzels’ recently launched chocolate bar represents the manufacturer’s first foray into the chocolate confectionery segment. Diversifying from its usual sugar confectionery, the supplier has taken the recognisable elements of its classic Drumstick Lolly as the basis for the new chocolate bar. A raspberry and milk fondant centre is combined with real raspberry pieces, then encased in milk chocolate and wrapped in 100% recyclable packaging. Nestlé has also brought out NPD this year, launching KitKat Zebra. The marbled dark and white chocolate variant of the four-finger bar follows previous brand innovations such as KitKat Green Tea Matcha, KitKat Gold and KitKat Ruby editions. “Now over 85 years old, KitKat’s unique mix of heritage and innovation has helped to make it one of the UK’s most iconic confectionery brands,” says Callum Smith, assistant brand manager. “We know how much people love to discover new KitKat flavours.”

[ CHOCOLATE ] Other recent innovation from Nestlé includes limitededition Yorkie Orange in a 46g single bar and a 72g DUO bar. The orange-flavoured milk chocolate is made with cocoa sustainably sourced under the Nestlé Cocoa Plan. There has been a resurgence in the popularity of orange-flavoured chocolate in recent years, with sales growing by 23% in the total market in 2020 (IRI). The supplier recommends that retailers maximise navigational ease of different shopper missions when arranging their fixtures. While food-to-go sections benefit from single countlines within reach, premium chocolate blocks can encourage trade-up when merchandised towards the top of the confectionery display and within secondary locations such as beers, wines & spirits and gifting.

‘Shoppers are emotionally invested within the confectionery category’ Levi Boorer, brand development director, Ferrero Retailers need to consider that consumer priorities this summer also focus on reconnection. So many celebrations of birthdays and other special occasions have been missed over the past year and it’s now time for shoppers to play catch-up with friends and family. Ferrero highlights the importance of wholesalers and retailers continuing to find shelf space for premium brands: “Particularly after a challenging time, chocolates present an opportunity for retailers to encourage shoppers to treat their family and friends. As restrictions ease, we anticipate retailers wanting to mark major events and provide gifting opportunities with affordable luxuries, such as premium confectionery, to add a little sparkle and make those occasions even

more special,” says Levi Boorer, brand development director. “Shoppers are emotionally invested within the confectionery category as the brands help them celebrate the moments they share with their loved ones,” he continues. “It’s because of this love that shoppers keep coming back to purchase time and time again. The category has shown resilience during tough times and has shown it again during the current pandemic.” Offering another merchandising opportunity, confectionery products from the sharing and gifting segment have found new purchasers as at-home entertaining has become a necessity. “We know people turn to the brands they know during times of uncertainty. Our portfolio of premium, established brands – Ferrero Rocher, Ferrero Collection, Raffaello and Thorntons – offers wholesalers the opportunity to carry highquality treats or gifts, which we know are in demand and suit the growth of the ‘big night in’ occasions,” Boorer continues. Premiumisation also underlies a lesser-known brand hoping to bring a US trend into the UK mainstream confectionery market. Forest Feast, a snack brand from family-run supplier Kestrel Foods, offers a handcrafted range of glutenfree, vegan chocolate-dipped fruits. Consumer lifestyles and dietary paths are leading to shifting shopper habits in snacks and confectionery, with brands emerging to cater to changing tastes and requirements. Shoppers are seeking brands that also suit their ethical beliefs and Kestrel Foods has strong sustainable credentials. The Forest Feast range includes 60% Cocoa Dark Chocolate Mango, 60% Cocoa Dark Chocolate Mountain Figs and 60% Dark Chocolate Sour Cherries. The fruits are all sustainably sourced and coated in a Belgian dark chocolate. “The trajectory of healthier snacking options has been on the rise for a while, which has seen huge innovation in the category, but nothing like this,” says Bronagh Clarke, marketing director. “We’re really excited to see this range land in stores. As the only 100% vegan and gluten-free option out there in dipped chocolate fruit, we’re going to really deliver for shopCCM pers and hopefully in turn grow the category.”

For further information: Ferrero 020-8869 4000 Kestrel Foods (02838) 350934 Mars Wrigley UK (01753) 550055 Mondelez (01214) 582000 Nestlé Confectionery 020-8686 3333 Swizzels (01633) 744144


July 2021


A mark of trust With the relationship between shoppers and convenience retailers blossoming, it’s important to keep customers loyal. Are price-marked packs the answer? Siobhan Kielty investigates.


here has never been a more crucial time for convenience stores to reassure their customers of value. Over the past year, many shoppers have discovered their local convenience store and it has been a lifeline for some while movement has been restricted. To see these new interactions ebb as people become comfortable again in larger stores would be a real shame and a missed opportunity for convenience retailers. To ensure shoppers return, it’s important to display the range and value that can continue to attract. Here, price-marked packs play a key role in reassuring consumers that they are getting value for money from brands they know and trust.

‘Giving consumers confidence in the pricing of well-known and popular brands can also lead to increased trust in pricing across the store’ Helen Boulter, Taylors of Harrogate’s multi-sector sales controller At Taylors of Harrogate, there is an expectation that demand for PMPs will grow on essential and everyday categories such as standard black tea and decaff. “When it comes to which products to make available as PMPs, shop owners will prioritise the best-selling lines,” says Helen Boulter, multisector sales controller. “Yorkshire Tea is the UK’s number one brew, and our best-selling PMP is our 80 teabag pack. “The pricing of Yorkshire Tea PMPs is not inflated for convenience; it is reflective of the rsp of equivalent packs in major multiples,” she continues. “As such, PMPs give consumers genuine confidence in the pricing of Yorkshire Tea, making them more likely to purchase. Giving consumers confidence in the pricing of well-known and popular brands can also lead to increased trust in pricing across the store.”


July 2021

KP Snacks also encourages convenience retailers and wholesalers to prioritise trusted brands and category leaders in order to attract shoppers. “As restrictions continue to lift, we can assume that shopping behaviour will shift back to ‘little and often’ as recessionary conditions prevail,” says Matt Collins, trading director. “As this happens, promotional mechanics and appropriate merchandising will play a key role in offering value to shoppers, serving both insulated and constrained spenders.” While KP’s Hula Hoops brand continues to be a family favourite and has the number one selling PMP in convenience with the £1 PMP of BBQ Beef, the McCoy’s brand is tapping into new trends with NPD. McCoy’s Fire Pit range features Flame Roasted Peri Peri, Flame Smoked Chorizo and Flame Scorched BBQ Rib variants, all available in a 62.5g £1 PMP format. “McCoy’s is perfectly placed to reignite formats and drive category growth by delivering variety and excitement,” says Collins. “£1 PMPs have seen significant growth in the last few years and this format will stay increasingly relevant during and post the pandemic.” It’s perhaps unsurprising that sharing PMPs became the number one contributor to crisps and snacks growth last year, up by 16.3% (Nielsen), and multipacks have become a take-home purchase on most shoppers’ lists. PepsiCo has updated its Walkers crisps and snacks range strategy to help retailers keep on top of the category. “The PMP format presents a great sales opportunity for retailers to capitalise on,” says Guy Harvey, impulse category management channel lead. “The key to communicating with shoppers is to firstly ensure rsp PMPs are highly visible, using secondary sitings to grab the attention of shoppers, even if they haven’t visited the main fixture. We recommend retailers range PMPs in the savoury snack category together on shelf, to make it easier to locate these packs in-store.” Saputo Dairy UK’s Cathedral City brand has undergone a range renovation and now features a consistent £2.49 price mark across the block, grated and sliced PMP formats. ”PMPs are a proven vehicle to showcase value to shoppers in the convenience channel, and demand for them is only increasing,” says Neil Stewart, cheese marketing controller.

[ PRICE-MARKED PACKS ] “Our newly unified range price-marking also opens up the potential for retailers to cross-promote these products across the range.” The supplier is focused on helping convenience retailers retain the consumer support nurtured over the past year. It’s important that the desire to shop local remains – two-thirds of convenience shoppers are being more mindful of their spending habits than before the pandemic and 60% claim to be very aware of the prices in convenience stores (Lumina). Weetabix is another supplier emphasising the importance of convenience retailers keeping the customers they gained over the past year. “Having a well-stocked breakfast category with all of the core and top-selling cereal brands has never been more important in a changing breakfast occasion, as people look to purchase more day-to-day items from their local stores,” says Darryl Burgess, head of sales. Weetabix says that it works hard to ensure that its pricemarked packs offer competitive shared margins. In the cereal category, Mondelez is also tapping into the PMP popularity with its new price-marked Oreo O’s pack for the convenience and wholesale channel. Aimed at the indulgent cereals sector, the product is supported with in-depot displays and digital support. The cereal category is up 23% year on year within impulse (Nielsen). Nairn’s has rebranded its range to make its products more visible, modern and appealing on-shelf, and has also adopted the £1 price point to attract consumers. Its best-selling Rough and Fine Milled Oatcakes feature £1 price-marked packs for the wholesale and convenience channels. Nairn’s believes that for many consumers, the preference for shopping local will be a lasting, behavioural change postpandemic. As such, the trade will need to adapt, and both the rebrand and the PMPs are a direct response to that challenge and a show of support for the convenience channel. The Haribo ‘core to store’ range of £1 PMPs includes the number one and number two price-marked packs in the category with Tangfantastics and Starmix, and there are nine Haribo price-marked medium bags in the top 30. Within symbols and independents, the top 20 price-marked bags sell five times more volume than their unmarked equivalents (IRI). Haribo is driving growth in the PMP format, with its Starmix, Tangfantastic and Chamallows recording sales increases of £1.03 million, £735,000 and £643,000 respectively (IRI). Haribo Starmix has been reformulated to include fruit juice, responding to consumer trends and feedback. The pack retains its £1 price-mark and the shapes are unchanged. 32

July 2021

While single eat and tuck shop formats have suffered over the past year, that trend is expected to reverse as out-ofhome consumption continues to rise, says Haribo. Once again, the perception of value in the convenience channel will help to encourage customers to continue the shopping habits they have developed over the past year and maintain loyalty to their local store. Swizzels recently entered the chocolate confectionery category with its Drumstick Chocolate bar, a new take on the classic Drumstick Lolly. The £1 PMP format further attracts consumer attention by highlighting the proven attractive price point. “Value-for-money confectionery continues to be a hugely popular choice for shoppers, particularly as financial circumstances have changed over the course of the pandemic, and research shows 44% of consumers are more likely to shop in a convenience store that stocks PMPs,” explains Mark Walker, sales director. “Therefore, it is important for cash & carries to attract convenience retailers with strong PMP displays that provide breadth of choice and best-selling options to maximise sales.” Along with NPD, Swizzels has invested in marketing for the biggest ever Squashies summer campaign. Throughout July and August, consumers can win daily prizes via the Swizzels social media channel by participating in various ‘Squashathon’ challenges. In addition, for an exclusive experiential prize, shoppers can win a VIP tour of the Swizzels factory, thanks to an onpack marketing campaign featured on the Swizzels’ variety range. Consumers need to look out for one of five golden Love Hearts rolls hidden in promotional bags. Skittles Giants from Mars Wrigley also caters to the £1 price point, with a 125g price-marked bag. “As well as offering good value, PMPs help retailers build a sense of confidence and trust with shoppers, with many saying PMPs reassure them that they are not being overcharged,” says Victoria Gell, fruity confections brand director. Mars Wrigley expects gum bottle formats to drive growth in 2021, as lifestyles become more mobile. Its £2 Extra sugarfree gum 46 pellet bottle is available in the core Peppermint and Spearmint flavours. Mondelez now offers its widest ever range of PMPs. “Wholesalers should stock new Cadbury Dairy Milk Caramel PMP, as well as a wider range of price-marked formats within confectionery, to help show shoppers they are getting good value for money and therefore encourage trade-up and impulse purchases,” says Susan Nash, trade communications manager. Alongside its Cadbury pricemarked singles bars and tablets, £1 price-marked 95g chocolate bags are available across the supplier’s best-sellers. NPD from Mondelez also includes Cadbury Caramilk. Available in singles and tablet form, with PMP and non-PMP options available, the launch is supported with marketing that incorporates PR, social media and in-store activity.


GRAB A CASE AND GROW YOUR MARGINS Great-tasting energy at unbeatable value. Priced to make you more money with every sale

[ PRICE-MARKED PACKS ] A thirst for summer value Red Bull’s commitment to the convenience sector has entailed ensuring that price-marked packs are available in larger formats, which increased in popularity over the past year. The Red Bull Zero 250ml four-pack was launched to meet the emerging needs for sharing and storing, while the Red Bull core range comes in PMP and non-PMP formats. “Within convenience stores, one in 10 shoppers indicate that PMPs are most likely to influence what they buy in store (Lumina). PMPs are considered by many retailers as a promotional mechanism; therefore, stocking PMPs ultimately drives profit and adds growth to the overall soft drink category, with one in five consumers driven to purchase a soft drink on impulse if it is on promotion (Lumina),” says a company spokesperson.

View from HQ Kenton Burchell, trading director, Bestway Wholesale Has the number of price-marked packs returned to normal after the pandemic prompted some suppliers to focus production on key lines? At Bestway, we never experienced any loss of PMPs during the pandemic – we were fortunate to have safeguarded the stocks from suppliers which enabled us to continue to offer our customers these options. Have suppliers recognised the need to offer consumers more PMPs, given that many consumers have financial concerns due to the pandemic? We have always had PMPs as part of our core range, and we have worked closely with our suppliers on introducing PMPs. This relates to our overall strategy to offer our customers the best value. Which product categories benefit the most from PMPs? Impulse and beers, wines & spirits. At Bestway, our convenience stores rely on these categories and so it’s important to ensure that both the shopper and customer have the security of PMPs. In some categories, such as soft drinks and snacks, are PMPs the norm now? If so, what’s your view of this? They have been the norm for quite some time now, particularly the ‘round pound’ price points – ie £1. Shoppers are very familiar with PMPs and can shop with confidence knowing that their local store is not exploiting prices, and for the retailer they have the added benefit of calculating margins with certainty and taking less risk with fluctuating prices. What advice does Bestway give to its customers in relation to PMPs? Our advice to customers is to ensure they stock PMPs across the core range. This will ensure they have a stable sales and profit line, to protect the core business.


July 2021

Red Bull recommends that retailers stock price-marked packs across best-sellers at all times, to demonstrate range and value, offering both single and multiple can formats. The manufacturer has also seen substantial growth in its Editions range, which increased by 83.7% in value last year (Nielsen). Enabling retailers to capitalise on summer sales, Red Bull Summer Edition Cactus Fruit will satisfy energy drink consumers and appeal to those looking for an adventurous, refreshing taste. The flavour joined the Tropical, Coconut & Berry, and Red Edition variants, all available in PMP and non-PMP formats. Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I offers price-marked and non-price-marked packs across its range of soft drinks to help wholesalers and retailers access the stock they want according to their merchandising preferences. “Price-marked packs are incredibly important for cash & carries when it comes to demonstrating value to their shoppers. They need to be balanced alongside shopper insight and store-specific requirements in order to meet the needs of consumers,” says Matt Gouldsmith, channel director. The manufacturer has revised its PMP offering in line with latest shopper trends and has also noted the growth of the drink-later format. “It is increasingly important that wholesalers have a larger format offering in store that includes price-marked packs,” continues Gouldsmith. “To help cash & carries cater for shoppers drinking more soft drinks at home, we have reduced the on-pack price of some of our most popular drink-later products, including Ribena 600ml squash and Lucozade Energy one-litre format drinks.” Refresco, which highlights the increasingly mainstream appeal of energy drinks, has updated the design of its Emerge brand with a bolder look and greater price visibility on-pack to maximise the impulse opportunity. With value more of a driver as we navigate an uncertain economy, the competitive Emerge price point is aimed at recruiting new consumers. No/low-sugar options are growing in popularity, and consumers are also looking to complement hydration with added benefits such as vitamins and electrolytes. “As such, wholesalers should consider stocking Emerge 250ml Zero sugar which offers an alternative for the increasingly sugar-conscious market, as well as Emerge’s bestselling original flavour 250ml functional energy can,” says a company spokesperson. Emerge Isotonics also offers a strong sales opportunity for the summer months, with a range of five flavours supporting performance and recovery. “Energy is a high-value, high-growth category; we suggest maximising visibility of price-marked packs in store, as consumers are increasingly on the go and demanding impulse energy,” says a company spokesperson. “Wholesalers should remain proactive and capitalise on sales as restrictions continue to ease, by ensuring a range of flavours and variants to keep consumers engaged.”



[ PRICE-MARKED PACKS ] A relaunch of Britvic’s Rockstar brand includes a new pack design and reformulation, and is available in PMP format for all core SKUs. The branding has been designed to attract new shoppers through a bold, premium look. New PMPs from Britvic also include an updated 500ml no-added-sugar range at a competitive £1 single price point. Pepsi Max, Diet Pepsi, 7Up Free and Tango brands all now feature £1 price-marked variants, including the new Tango Sugar Free Dark Berry flavour. “We’d recommend that retailers stock pricemarked cans or 500ml bottles from well-known, trusted brands to ensure everyday value is clear across key on-the-go formats,” says Phil Sanders, out-of-home commercial director. “This temporary move will allow retailers to clearly communicate value to their shoppers at a time when this is so important.” CCEP points out that choice is key for both retailers and consumers, with wholesalers enabling a full range. “It’s important for retailers to find the right balance between on-the-go and at-home formats, keeping space for both as restrictions are eased,” says Amy Burgess senior trade communications manager. “Our best-loved brands, including Coca-Cola, Fanta, Sprite, Dr Pepper and Monster, are all available in PMPs and plain packs, so retailers can choose the best option for their stores.”

Burgess adds that PMPs account for more than 60% of total soft drink sales in convenience stores (Nielsen). Adult social occasions are also predicted to boom as restrictions ease, and Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I has launched PMPs in time for summer get-togethers. On the back of strong sales growth for 10-packs and single cans in the off-trade, Stella Artois is now available in price-marked 10 x 440ml and 568ml single can formats, and Budweiser has a 568ml single can PMP. A premium offering is also available for the summer, with a new price-marked four-pack of Corona. Consumers who have been creating their own social gatherings in the absence of the hospitality trade expressed a willingness to trade up when buying alcoholic drinks to have at home. Also hoping for a social summer is Funkin Cocktails, which has launched a new range of price-marked RTD Nitro Cocktail cans. Available at the price point of £1.99 in Passion Fruit Martini, Pina Colada and Strawberry Daiquiri nitroinfused variants, the new range is supported as part of a £1 million national advertising campaign. “Since lockdown restrictions, we’ve noticed a rise in consumers shopping more locally at convenience stores and wanting to re-create bar-worthy concoctions at home,” says Ben Anderson, marketing director. “Also, due to the economic impact of the pandemic, consumers are also searching out value products, which is where our new price-marked pack range demonstrates clear value to consumers who are perhaps watching their spending more closely at the moment.” CCM

For further information: Britvic (0345) 758 1781 Budweiser Brewing Group (01582) 391166 Coca-Cola European Partners (01733) 828000 Funkin Cocktails 020-7328 4440 Haribo (01977) 692950 KP Snacks (0845) 601 7583 Mars Wrigley (01753) 550055 Mondelez (01214) 582000 Nairn’s 0131-620 7000 PepsiCo (0118) 930 6666 Red Bull (0203) 117 2000 Refresco UK (01278) 441600 Saputo Dairy UK (01372) 472200 Suntory Beverages & Food (0203) 727 2420 Swizzels (01663) 744144 Taylors of Harrogate (01423) 814000 Weetabix (01536) 722181


July 2021


PIM: from chaos to order A Product Information Management system makes it simpler for businesses to manage, monitor and maintain their product data compared to an ERP system, explains Oporteo.


t is often asked what a Product Information Management (PIM) system provides, over and above a typical Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. An ERP holds product details, doesn’t it? Some even enable images and datasheets to be attached. So why do wholesalers need to invest in a PIM system? The volume of product information needed to record, manage and distribute is growing – particularly for wholesalers in the food and drink sector where detailed descriptions, images, ingredients and allergens are critical, says Andy Pratt, business development executive at Oporteo. “Most businesses have an ERP system that records a small amount of this information for day-to-day operations. However, they are not equipped to handle the amount of product information that you, or your customers, need access to regularly,” he explains. As a result, people are developing workarounds to overcome the limitations of their ERP system. Spreadsheets are a

Benefits of Oporteo PIM According to Oporteo, these are the benefits of its Product Information Management (PIM) system: Better data quality Add, edit and publish your product information – wherever it is needed – and be confident that it will always be consistent and relevant to customers across all sales channels. Food and drink regulatory compliance Ensure full compliance with current and future legislation by easily recording and maintaining legally required food and drink product data – including allergens. You can then respond to changing regulatory demands immediately. Lower operational costs Comprehensive import and manipulation tools maximise the efficiency of your product management processes, freeing up your team’s valuable time. Reduced time to market Proactively expedite the collection, embellishment and approval of product information to get products to market faster, and be the first to offer the latest products to customers. Improved business agility By freeing yourself from the constraints of your ERP system you will have the ability to add or amend product attributes quicker and easier. Increased data security Having all your product information in a central repository reduces the risks associated with spreading your product data across multiple systems, spreadsheets, file folders and other such distributed repositories.


July 2021

common go-to. However, these are not a sustainable information management solution, according to Pratt. “They are difficult to collaborate on, and provide little security or version control,” he says. “This creates a lack of consistency and outdated information across your business, making it harder to get the right data, to the right person, at the right time.” Pratt points out that this affects a business and its customers: “B2B customers are relying on their suppliers to provide accurate and relevant product information. Failure to provide can have dire consequences on your bottom line.” To deliver unrivalled customer service, businesses need to change how they manage their product information. The solution is a Product Information Management (PIM) system. “A PIM system makes it simpler for businesses to manage, monitor and maintain all this product data, giving much lower operational costs, less duplication and greatly improved data quality,” says Pratt. A PIM system is more than just a data repository or another digital platform. It holds a vast array of data but it also includes Andy Pratt: ‘PIM users the tools to ensure that informareport a 50% reduction in data management tion is managed and distributed activities.’ efficiently. “The process of collecting, enriching and reviewing product data is automated and controlled through workflows and product ownership,” he explains. “This reduces the time it takes to update information and, ultimately, time to market.” Oporteo has developed its own PIM solution to help wholesalers. According to Pratt, what’s unique about Oporteo PIM is that it’s designed to meet the specific needs of the food and drink industry – from streamlining the onboarding of data from suppliers to supporting omnichannel trading. “PIM users are reporting a 50% reduction in data management activities and 95% increase in product data quality,” CCM concludes Pratt. Oporteo 0161-355 3000


More options for wholesalers UK wholesalers with a collective turnover of £3 billion – including a growing number of delivered operators – have migrated to MMS Evo, and STL is using this success as a springboard for product evolution.


TL claims to have long been the go-to choice for cash & carry operators, with unrivalled sector knowledge, continuous innovation and a fierce commitment to service quality. But a series of strategic moves has bolstered STL’s proposition for delivered wholesalers, including foodservice operators. The next generation of merchandise management MMS Evo is said to be the most advanced and fastest-adopted nextgeneration merchandise management system. Evolved from STL’s trusted MMS software and powered by the Microsoft platform, Evo is accessible from any device and super-responsive. “It offers a fresh, intuitive and easyto-use interface, with real-time key performance graphs for swift and effective decision-making. It automatically keeps users up to date, secure and compliant, whilst enabling them to customise and rescale quickly to adapt to changing market conditions,” says a company spokesperson. As a result, just 18 months after its launch, UK wholesalers with a collective turnover of £3 billion – including an increasing number of delivered operators – have migrated to Evo. STL has used this success as a springboard for continuous product evolution, both through partnerships with the industry’s top niche specialists and by its own innovations.

saving time and money. It enables operators to set up default lorry, driver and routes for each day of the week, and assign customers to the most cost-efficient set route to minimise fuel costs. It facilitates load planning: organising deliveries in logical batches, pre-advising loaders of the pallet and cage requirements for the day, and enabling the efficient loading of vehicles. Truck run sheets can also include details of any payments required. Android handhelds STL says that its rugged Hand Held Terminals (HHTs) have long delivered functionally-rich, real-time and wearable warehouse computing, seamlessly integrated with the leading sales order processing software (STL SOP) to maximise productivity, efficiency and accuracy. Now, STL has migrated its HHTs onto Android to gain all the latest advances in mobile computing. Foodservice MMS Evo has been adapted to meet the specific needs of foodservice operators. It can split one order into multiple pick lists – say frozen, chilled and ambient – to enable picking efficiency before the order is re-consolidated as a single delivery and invoice. Further, it prioritises picking against best-before dates to ensure no goods are wasted. The system also easily supports split pack pricing and weighted items. Automated supplier claims STL’s Supplier Claims Management module automatically collates relevant purchase, stock and promotional data then emails claims to the relevant suppliers in line with agreed terms. It also helps wholesalers to track claim status.

eProof of delivery STL teamed with PODFather to design a fully-integrated module for MMS Evo which automates the proof-of-delivery process. It scans asset movements, captures signatures and photos, then updates head office in real time – all through a smartphone app.

Telesales call diary This handy tool reminds sales personnel which of their contacts to call and when, and prompts call-backs to ensure that no orders are missed. It also hunts for relevant promotions and other upselling opportunities.

Cage tracking STL also addressed the common costly challenge of unreturned cages with the STL/PODFather Cage Tracker. This operates a simple out/in logging system tied to the delivery process to ensure wholesalers always know where cages are, and can support incentive schemes designed to encourage their timely return.

App-based e-commerce Increasingly, customers want to engage with their suppliers in real time. In a joint venture with B2B Store, STL is delivering what is claimed to be the first truly seamless and realtime omni-channel e-commerce solution for delivered wholesalers which also incorporates the specialist foodservice solution, Erodus. Combined with STL MMS Evo, it enables customers to order whenever it suits them 24/7, whilst enabling wholesalers to deep-analyse customer needs CCM so they can proactively provide a targeted service. STL (0333) 3207 101

Route planning Meanwhile, STL has refreshed its Route Planning module to help wholesalers manage their delivery fleet efficiently, 40

July 2021

STL: King of the wholesale jungle Brexit. COVID-19. Mergers & acquisitions. Only the fittest will survive. It’s been a turbulent time. But one company has emerged as the King of IT to help wholesalers adapt, evolve and thrive. With unrivalled sector knowledge, continuous technical innovation and a fierce commitment to service quality, STL provides the most powerful and responsive solutions for delivered wholesalers, foodservice and cash & carry operators. Just 18 months after we launched our next-generation platform MMS Evo, UK wholesalers have migrated £3b of revenues to our pride. Merchandise management. Omni-channel e-Commerce. Warehouse management. Android-based wearable RF picking units. Route planning. eProof of delivery. Cage tracking. Supplier claims management. Telesales call diary. And more.

0333 320 7101


Getting ahead through insight Caterforce chose TWC to develop a progressive data platform, and since going live in April the Sales Hub is already proving invaluable in influencing the group’s decisions.


id-COVID pandemic (and the most challenging trading period in the history of foodservice) may not seem the obvious time for a foodservice buying consortium to invest in a significant IT initiative. But that’s exactly what Caterforce did – and to good effect. Six months after giving the go ahead, the new Caterforce Sales Hub went live in April 2021. Created in partnership with leading data and digital experts TWC, the hub is providing valuable insight to Caterforce’s eight independent foodservice wholesalers, helping them – and their supplier partners – make informed and valuable business decisions. As one of the UK’s biggest foodservice buying and marketing consortiums, Caterforce sources products from a huge range of suppliers and manufacturers to support its members, which have a combined turnover of over £500 million. According to managing director Gary Mullineux, the commitment to develop a progressive data platform was always there; COVID simply accelerated that commitment as it quickly became obvious that the members’ customer base was changing and data could help them make informed decisions about how they could adapt. “It was a difficult trading period – and members were having to massively pivot their businesses to meet changing customer and consumer behaviours,” he explains. “The growth in online ordering in the sector is well documented, as is the growth into certain markets such as care homes and education. “Our intention, prior to COVID, was to invest in digital strategies that would set us apart for the future. Under COVID the need for insight that data can provide became even more critical to meet accelerating change. “We chose TWC as our specialist partner due to the team’s immense knowledge of both the wholesale and supplier side, and their deep understanding of the industry. For us, as a progressive consortium with ambitious growth plans, we wanted a progressive tech partner who would share our vision. We also wanted complete financial transparency. “This investment was a huge undertaking for us and there was a big element of trust,” Mullineux continued. “That trust

Gary Mullineux: ‘Implementation was seamless.’


July 2021

Data is now informing everything that Caterforce does.

was rewarded with service excellence and a platform that was delivered on time, is easy to use and welcomed by members and suppliers. It’s already proving invaluable in influencing our business decisions, and those of suppliers. “Implementation was seamless – TWC made it easy.” TWC gathered all the data from members, processed it and cleansed it. Members then had to test the system and validate the sales figures. Correspondingly, Caterforce and TWC worked together to demonstrate the hub to suppliers, signing them up ahead of the launch. Mullineux says that all the timelines were met, as promised: “There was no slippage, if TWC committed to a date – the team met that date!” Tanya Pepin, managing director of TWC, praised the commitment and discipline of the Caterforce members: “When you create a data service, it’s a complex undertaking, and from our side you are only as quick as your slowest member. Even then, we still have to check the numbers and the voracity of the data we have been given. Support from the members was critical to success,” she says. Mullineux confirms that all suppliers have ‘bought in’ to the Sales Hub. “The thing suppliers love is the gap analysis, giving visibility of insights and trends, plus the fact that the interface is incredibly intuitive and easy to use,” he says. “Understanding our customer types is vital. The Sales Hub helps us to understand the products we are buying, analyse the trends and opportunities to grow our own-brand range, and helps the buying team identify new suppliers. “For example, over the past few weeks we have been able to compare and evaluate trends and shifting customer behaviours. We’re using it to see how fast the business is coming back and analyse customer types across the whole group. We can see where our growth is coming from. “The feedback from suppliers and members has been unanimously positive,” Mullineux reports. “Data is now informing everything we do. Our Caterforce Sales Hub is the start of a big journey, and we intend to drive further innovaCCM tion through technology.” TWC (01908) 920602

We know that data driven businesses have a measurable competitive advantage. ¹ĺîƥɫƙDžĺNj¹Ø ĿƙƥĺĚēîƥîƎîƑƥŠĚƑūIJČĺūĿČĚƥūɍɍɍ

We are trusted to capture their complex omni-channel data and transform it into simple, effective intelligence, giving them and their suppliers the fact-based insight they need to drive their performance. ¹ūǶŠēūƭƥŞūƑĚîċūƭƥĺūDžDžĚČîŠĺĚŕƎNjūƭĺîƑŠĚƙƙNjūƭƑēîƥîîŠē ĚŞƎūDžĚƑNjūƭƑċƭƙĿŠĚƙƙɈūƑƥūċūūŒîēĚŞūɈƎŕĚîƙĚČūŠƥîČƥ¹Ø ƥūēîNjūŠɉ

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