Better Wholesaling Insight - December 2021

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December 2021

In-depth analysis, insight and advice for convenience and foodservice wholesalers

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The wholesale sector is evolving, and so are we. Take a look at our new-look website betterwholesaling.com where you will find: • More news and thought leadership • In-depth wholesaler profiles and video interviews • Sector and category reviews • Easy-to-digest infographics highlighting key industry trends

Stay informed and get ahead with betterwholesaling.com

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December 2021

In-depth analysis, insight and advice for convenience and foodservice wholesalers

Sustainability

How to grow profits by going green; looking after your workforce’s mental health; and promoting a culture of diversity p1 Cover.indd 1

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STERLING

R O L L I N G TO B ACCO

ESSENTIAL NOW AVAILABLE IN 50G

WHAT IS IT? • Following the success of Sterling Essential 30g, JTI is now offering a 50g format, with the same fantastic RYO quality and a competitive RRP of just £21.20*. The 30g variant also offers a great value RRP of just £12.95*. • Providing everyday value with a whole leaf blend, without the papers or filters, means existing adult smokers now have the freedom to purchase their preferred tobacco accessories.

15%

POR UNTIL THE END OF THE YEAR

12.95 £ 21.20

£

RRP* 30G

RRP* 50G

WHY STOCK IT? • Sterling Rolling is the UK’s fastest growing RYO brandi. • Within the RYO category, Value RYO is the leading sector with a 52.3% shareii. • The Value RYO category is growing 14.3% year on yeariii, generating sales of £3.9 billion a yeariv.

Mark McGuinness, Head of Marketing at JTI UK, says: “The new Sterling Rolling Tobacco Essential 50g format meets the growing demand for Value RYO, and provides wholesalers with even more choice to offer their customers. We would recommend wholesalers stock both the 30g and 50g formats to make the most of the profit opportunity available.”

*Retailers are of course free to sell JTI products at whatever price they choose. i. IRi Market Place, Volume Share, Total RYO/MYO, Total UK, over the last 12 months to Sep 2021 (based on slope calculation) ii. IRi Market Place, Volume Share, Total RYO/MYO, Total UK, Sep 2021 iii. IRi Market Place, Value Sales, Total RYO/MYO, Total UK, MAT To 10/10/21 vs. MAT To 11/10/20 (Increase in Sales Value). iv. IRi Market Place, Value Sales, Total RYO/MYO, Total UK, MAT To 10/10/21

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CONTENTS

REPORT P6: Data & insight B2b.store’s data has begun to show a sustainable shift

LEADER Moving towards a more socially and ethically conscious industry

Paul Hill Editor

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ust when it looked like the industry was out of the woods and operations were beginning to return to some form of normality, a wave of issues have hit the channel and threatened wholesalers up and down the country. Despite all this, sustainability, diversity and mental health are three areas that have remained important and become key issues for the channel – a testament to how much of a focal point they’ve become. Sustainability consultancies, mental health first-aiders and diversity training

EDITORIAL

are just three methods I’ve encountered on my visits to wholesalers recently. It appears they all have wellbeing for the environment and their employees at the heart of every decision they make, and the industry is better for it. However, this is just the beginning, and as the world modernises, wholesale will need to continue on this upwards path. This edition is therefore here to help companies build on their existing structures, as well as businesses that need help getting on the right sustainable path. As well as key insight and data from the likes of b2b.store and Women in Wholesale, there are viewpoints and opinion from players across the industry, such as Bestway, Bidfood and Cotswold Fayre. The FWD also outlines some upcoming sustainability dates wholesalers need to keep an eye out for, while the SWA presents the findings of its recent decarbonisation report. If you would like help with any of the topics covered in this issue, please get in touch with me and I’ll connect you with the relevant parties.

Printed by Acorn Web Offset Director of sales & marketing Ltd, Loscoe Close, Normanton Industrial Estate, Normanton, Matthew Oliver West Yorkshire, WF6 1TW 020 7689 3367 Distributor Seymour Distribution, Senior account director 2 East Poultry Avenue, London, Charlotte Jesson EC1A 9PT 020 7689 3389 SALES

Editor Paul Hill Editor in chief Louise Banham Head of design Anne-Claire Pickard Production editor Ryan Cooper Sub editors Jim Findlay, Robin Jarossi

Account director Natalie Reeve 020 7689 3372

Designer Jody Cooke

Newtrade Media Limited, 11 Angel Gate, City Road, London EC1V 2SD Tel 020 7689 0600

Contributors David Gilroy, Paul Hargreaves, Tom GockelenKozlowski, Rob Mannion, Elit Rowland, Charles Smith Production coordinator Chris Gardner

Better Wholesaling Insight's publisher Newtrade Media cares about the environment.

Better Wholesaling Insight is published by Newtrade Media Limited, which is wholly owned by NFRN Holdings Ltd, which is wholly owned by the Benefits Fund of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents. Reproduction or transmission in part or whole of any item from Better Wholesaling may only be undertaken with the prior written agreement of the Editor. Contributions are welcomed and are included in part or whole at the sole discretion of the editor. Newtrade Media Limited accepts no responsibility for submitted material. Every possible care is taken to ensure the accuracy of information.

P7: Sustainability project How JTI has helped UWS transform its sustainable offering P8-11: Case studies Sustainable ways of learning from across the industry P12: Industry spotlight Finding out all the latest green news at BrewDog P14-15: Viewpoint A commercially-based ‘sustainability starter pack’ P16 Opinion Why a greater focus needs to be placed on mental health P17 Interview GroceryAid talks about its work with the wholesale channel P18-19 Opinion Sustainability should form a key part of wholesale strategies P20 Viewpoint How to better support women in the wholesale workplace P21 Insight The FWD outlines all the key dates and points of focus for the industry P22-23 Report The SWA presents the findings of its industry decarbonisation report P24-25 Tips & summary Seven ways wholesalers can improve their sustainability credentials CATEGORY ADVICE P4-5: Working Together Project SBF GB&I is partnering with Batleys for some exciting NPD P26-27: Industry spotlight TrueCommerce explains why it should be a wholesaler’s e-commerce provider P28-32: Sector review An in-depth overview of the allimportant confectionery category P34-36: Sector review Trends and developments in hot beverages and cold brews

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WORKING TOGETHER PROJECT Stimulation drink shoppers have a

28%

Working Together

higher-thanaverage basket spend

STAYING ALERT TO THE NPD OPPORTUNITY Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I and Batleys are working together to promote a new functional drinks range. Paul Hill reports New product launches remain vitally important to the wholesale industry, and representatives from Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I (SBF GB&I) were keen to discuss the potential of their new stimulation drink at Batleys Hatfield Road depot in Cardiff. “It’s great to be down here today to work with the team to launch a brand-new product, and discuss how making the most of NPD launches is so important for both wholesalers and independent retailers,” explained Tom Etherington, key account manager at SBF GB&I. Lucozade Alert is the new product in question and the stimulation drink is available in 500ml price-marked and non-price-marked cans, in two exciting flavours – Tropical Burst and Cherry Blast. It contains naturally-sourced caffeine with Vitamin B3 to help reduce tiredness. Shafqat Randhawa, operations manager at Batleys Wholesale, said: “It’s brilliant having SBF GB&I here in Wales. We’re excited to promote new Lucozade Alert to our customers and I’m sure they’ll have great success when they stock it in their stores.” Stimulation drinks have been the fastest-growing segment within soft drinks for the past five years – with the 12 million additional servings in the past 12 months alone showing a clear consumer desire and need for more offerings. “Forty-eight per cent of stimulation drinkers only buy these drinks once a year, meaning there is a real opportunity to continue to drive growth by offering shoppers a more permissible option,” explained Etherington.

“Stimulation is currently the fastest-growing soft drinks segment, yet there are still shoppers who aren’t picking these products up because of taste, health concerns or brand positioning,” he added. “We saw a gap in the market for a stimulation drink that tastes great, is low in calories, contains naturally-sourced caffeine and is relevant for more shoppers – all delivered from the iconic Lucozade brand.” Etherington was also keen to point out SBF GB&I research that shows that when shoppers buy stimulation drinks, they tend to buy other products as well. Stimulation drink shoppers have a 28%higher-than-average basket spend. Both Lucozade Alert flavours are available to wholesalers now and SBF GB&I has supported the launch with PoS, to help tell retailers what Lucozade Alert is, and get them excited about the launch. “Getting behind new product launches with big, unmissable PoS to attract the attention of your retail customers can have a big impact and really benefit wholesalers. We know from previous work across our brands, bespoke front-of-depot display can lead to sales uplifts of around 14%, which is amazing,” Etherington said. With a keen focus on the wholesale channel and a huge amount of marketing investment, Lucozade Alert is primed to be one of the wholesale channel’s most successful NPDs in recent memory. “It’s been brilliant to be here at Batleys to see Alert’s first steps toward becoming a major stimulation drink brand,” he concluded.

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In partnership with

PRODUCTS

Stimulation drinks have seen more than

12 million additional servings in the past year

Tropical Burst

Cherry Blast

SUPPLIER VIEWPOINT Tom Etherington Key account manager, SBF GB&I

“There is clear consumer desire and need for more offerings in the sector and this growth is predicted to continue until 2024. As 48% of stimulation drinkers only buy these drinks once a year, we believe these light shoppers are seeking a more appealing option.”

WHOLESALER VIEWPOINT Aizad Durrani Depot manager, Batleys Wholesale

“It’s fantastic to have SBF GB&I here with us in Wales to find out about its new product and learn about the wider category in general. Meetings like this are great for Batleys, as we’re able to then transfer this important knowledge onto our retail customers.”

To stay on top of all the latest information from SBF GB&I, check out LinkedIn at linkedin.com/ company/suntory-beverage-food-gb-i 5

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REPORT B2b.store’s wholesale sales data has recognised a momentous shift towards more sustainable food choices Rob Mannion is the founder of b2b.store

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s climate change and sustainability move up the political agenda, data from our platform has identified a significant shift towards more sustainable food choices, too. In places where we would normally see a dip in sales of meat products at the start of the year as people embark on healthy-eating plans, these usually return to ‘normal’ levels within a few months. 2021 has completely bucked that trend, though, with sales of meat products falling significantly since January and remaining relatively low ever since – currently at just 60% of their 2020 high. While the precise size of the fall differs, the wider trend identified in our data correlates with a study recently published in The Lancet Planetary Health, which highlighted a 17% drop in meat

consumption in the UK over the past 10 years. The same research, led by the University of Oxford, suggested that almost 40% of meat eaters are actively trying to reduce their consumption of meat, citing health or environmental reasons. Whether this is a temporary blip, the result of public awareness campaigns, such as Veganuary, or a more general shift towards ‘healthier’ eating habits in the wake of the pandemic is not yet clear. However, it’s a trend wholesalers across the grocery and foodservice sectors will need to be mindful of when it comes to managing stock levels, sourcing new product lines and even creating targeted e-com-

merce marketing campaigns. B2b.store recently launched a self-service that enables wholesalers to create their own e-commerce store, using its existing platform. The feature is available with the Free, Starter, Growth and Accelerator licence levels from b2b.store, and wholesalers also have the option to upgrade to subscription services as needed.

Users can select a dedicated b2b.store domain name and use the set-up wizard to create their own specialised e-commerce environment. l

Meat sales trends, data from b2b.store

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SUSTAINABILITY PROJECT

In partnership with

WHOLESALER VIEWPOINT Jason Butler

Head of operations, UWS

“We’ve realised how important it is to get to net zero and be sustainable from JTI. It was a breath of fresh air and it gave us the inspiration to become a green wholesaler.”

A green partnership Paul Hill

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arlier this year, Better Wholesaling Insight worked alongside JTI to undertake the largestever sustainability research across the industry. JTI then met with a number of wholesalers and has been working closely with United Wholesale Scotland (UWS) to help the wholesaler improve its sustainability credentials. JTI initially created a step-bystep environmental improvement plan to focus on four key areas – including employee engagement, company cars, measurement and communication, and green energy and emissions. Kirsty Rice, JTI’s environmental manager and author of JTI UK’s 2030 Environmental Plan, then analysed progress and advised on setting future reduction targets to further help UWS. Finally, JTI ran a workshop on sustainability for UWS’s new Green Champions team to set them up for their sustainability journey ahead. Jason Butler and Chris Gallacher of UWS recently joined JTI’s sustainability director, Ruth Forbes, to discuss the huge progress made within the four key focus areas. Employee engagement “The very first thing we did was to send a sustainability survey out

to all our staff,” explained Butler. “From that, we had some really quick wins, such as plastic recycling stations and a reduction in our printed materials. Sixty per cent in the survey said climate change was very important to them, so we knew we were working with a passionate employee base.” UWS then went on to form Team Green – a collection of employees across the business who received formal training and are now the main point of contact on sustainability and the key catalysts for driving sustainable change. Forbes described JTI’s similar method: “Our sustainability team isn’t responsible for our environmental targets, everyone at JTI is, including our employee task force, which has representatives from all over the business who work together to deliver the ambitious goals we have set.” Company cars “Because sustainability is so important to us, we’re investing in half of our fleet of 10 lorries to go to hydrogen in partnership with a company called Arcola Energy,” explained Gallacher. UWS has also improved the standard of daily vehicle checks, set MOT pass targets, and introduced tracking software and KPIs for its drivers.

SUPPLIER VIEWPOINT Ruth Forbes

Sustainability director, JTI

“UWS should be really proud of what it’s achieved. The company is now on track to improve its environmental impact and I can only see the business going from strength to strength now that it’s made environmental sustainability a key company priority.”

WHOLESALER VIEWPOINT Chris Gallacher

Managing director, UWS

“This partnership has been brilliant to help us in getting to where we are now and where we want to go. Our business is now set for the future.” Measurement and communication “It’s very important to measure your current environmental footprint,” said Forbes. “You need to understand your current situation in order to set your targets and create the action plan that will enable you to drive change and meet your long-term goals.” Prior to the partnership, UWS communicated its values through three key foundations: ‘People fit for the future’, ‘Key partnerships’ and ‘Tools and Technology’. But since its work with JTI, it’s now added a fourth key pillar of ‘Sustainability’. The wholesaler also has a longer-term plan in place and knows that by 2025, if it has solar panels installed at its branches, it’ll be able to produce 22% of its electricity on

site. “If you were to take a general wholesaler, they would always take sales and costs as general measures for business success,” explained Gallacher. “This partnership with JTI has taught me that sustainability needs to be measured as well.” Green energy and emissions By moving from brown to green energy, UWS will save more than 100,000 tonnes of carbon over two years. “As well as this, simple things such as harvesting your own rainwater to clean your trucks is great from a cost-and-sustainability point of view. “Until we started to get inspiration from the likes of JTI, we wouldn’t have thought about things such as this,” said Gallacher. l

Watch video highlights at betterwholesaling.com/sustainability-in-action 7

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REPORT Lessons from the industry Leading figures from across the sector give their take on sustainability and how they implement it across their operations By Paul Hill

Louise Birchall Director, Birchall Foodservice

Over the past 12 months, we have continued to improve our green credentials by investing in two key projects: the installation of 388 clean-energy solar panels on our warehouse roof, and the purchase of 43 new delivery vehicles with Euro 6 engines. The solar panels will reduce our carbon emissions by more than 50 tonnes each year, and the new fleet will help us reduce our vehicle emissions. We are also trialling electric vehicles for our field sales team and smaller delivery vans with a long-term aim of having a completely electric fleet for our sales team.

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Ryan Torrible

Justin Slawson

Business development manager, North West Teas

Joint managing director, Mevalco

NWT has always been very environmentally conscious. From installing solar panels on the roof, to frequently updating the fleet of vans to lower carbon emissions, it has always been high on the priority list. The aim is to have the entire fleet of vans electric in the next five years. There are also incentives for managers to get electric cars. There is also a recycle initiative in place for all the excess packaging received with orders. We also have an apprenticeship scheme to attract a younger workforce to help those new to the workforce find first-time jobs in a secure business setup. The majority of these then go on to be full-time employees.

As an importer, the sustainability and provenance of our products is foremost in our business. Yes, we are taking measures to reduce direct scopes within the company, including the ongoing journey to mobilise clean energy, reduce packaging and waste, and ensure effective routing. But, of equal importance is the indirect pathways which relate to the provenance and sourcing of our quality ingredients. This includes how products and ingredients are grown and harvested. It means only fishing in sustainable waters and at seasonal times. It means looking at how our meats are grown high in the Spanish mountains, providing circular loops in local economies. We have a very strong sustainability message and are passionate about ensuring any new products meet this stringent criteria.

Jamie Crummie Co-founder, Too Good To Go

Food waste is a critical global issue having a devastating impact on our planet. One-third of all food produced is wasted, accounting for 8-10% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, wholesalers, like all food businesses across the supply chain, have a duty to dramatically reduce the amount of food that is going to waste. According to WRAP, 16% of the UK’s total food waste, post farm gate, arises from wholesalers and manufacturers. This makes it the second-largest food waste stream in the supply chain. There are some good examples of manufacturers and wholesalers using food waste solutions and redistribution services – however, much more needs to be done for the industry as a whole to become more resilient and sustainable. Our food system is broken and it's vital that we all play a part in fixing it.

Giles Simon National accounts, Suma

We value honesty and transparency in our relationships with our suppliers, customers and consumers. We minimise food sent to landfill thanks to partnerships with food banks and using unsellable items in our canteen. We strive to promote healthy lifestyles through our product listing choices and sharing informative articles and information. In partnership with environmental group Treesponsibility on their CO2mittment scheme, Suma plants in the region of 5,300 trees each year to offset the carbon produced by our fleet of delivery trucks. Native species are planted to lock carbon into the soil and, at the same time, providing a sustainable resource, by means of coppicing the plantation as it matures.

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REPORT Steve Whitwam Commercial director, Harvest

Since Harvest started trading as a limited company in 2001, our responsibility to our planet, our people and our community has always been at the forefront of our minds. We have always strived to do what is right and not what is easy to make sure our footprint on the world is as small and as positive as we can make it. Harvest’s commitment to the environment includes sourcing products from local suppliers when and where we can. We currently have around 40 local suppliers from Dorset, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Isle of Wight and West Sussex. Whenever possible, we will collect from our local suppliers with our own vehicles while out on our customer delivery runs, reducing the impact of traffic on the local area. We are committed to moving our car fleet to 100% hybrid cars by the end of 2022 and being zero to landfill by the end of this year. Furthermore, Harvest is committed to have 100% of black plastics removed from our own-label range (Country Rage and Harvest labels) by the end of this year.

Dawood Pervez

Julie Owst

Managing director, Bestway Wholesale

Head of sustainability, Bidfood

Sustainability remains at the forefront of the supply chain, and at Bestway we continue to work closely with our suppliers to ensure products are sourced in the most sustainable way. This includes the way they are packaged, the provenance (through sustainable sources), and we also look at elements such as food and water miles. Consumers are increasingly demanding sustainable and environmentally friendly products and plant-based alternatives. We have worked to enhance and develop our range of plant-based produce, to enable independent retailers to meet growing consumer demand in these categories. Our store development teams are also working with a growing number of retailers to install packaging-free produce areas in stores. We have also focused on investing in the technology to allow us to improve the efficiency of our van routing across the UK – not only is it the right thing to do, but it also increases our fuel efficiency and the time-effectiveness of our delivery teams. Furthermore, we support our independent retailers by providing insight to help them shape their own approach to sustainability, as well as guidance on evolving legislation and consumer trends. In 2020, Bestway donated more than 80 tonnes of self-raising flour to The Felix Project, a charity that uses surplus food to help people in poverty and need, living in London. Our Bestway Foundation also helps many causes, including Save The Children, The Duke of Edinburgh Award, Crimestoppers and GroceryAid.

It’s been an incredibly challenging 18 months, and while the supply chain has suffered, and continues to suffer, as a result of the chaos created by Brexit and Covid-19, at Bidfood we’ve been working hard to keep progressing on our sustainability journey during this time: • We’ve committed to net-zero carbon by 2045, as part of SBTi (Science Based Target initiative). • Set a food-waste-reduction target of 63% between 2020 and 2030. • We’re currently establishing a timeline for fully complying with Real Living Wage. • We’ve contributed to research in two areas: 1) Water scarcity in southern Spain – identifying the best course of collective action to preserve water availability in a key growing area for UK produce. This helps mitigate the effects of climate change (commissioned by WRAP). 2) Ethnic representation and pay gaps in the hospitality industry (commissioned by Footprint). • We’ve continued to align with objectives of Plastics Pact and are progressing well against these targets. • We’re committed to creating a soy policy and aim to implement it by December 2022. • We’ve launched a ‘diversity dashboard’ for all people-managers, as a first step towards improving diversity and inclusion.

Adrian Gibson Group compliance manager, Savona Foodservice

During the past 18 months, Savona has been busy overhauling the business and has made major improvements that aid sustainability efforts. Implementation of a bespoke ERP system using sales, warehouse and delivery systems, coupled with intuitive reporting functions, has enabled the business to become almost paperless. With further enhancements made to their online ordering platform and introduction of automated status notifications through each stage of the order process, including live GPS tracking, has taken customer service to a whole new level. This improved efficiency has also enabled a reduction in the size of the fleet, the vehicles used and mileage travelled, significantly reducing the amount of fuel consumed. Savona is also investigating the use of HVO, which can cut fuel emissions by up to 90%. As well as being proactive with its sustainability cause, Savona most definitely has provided ‘effortless convenience for the caterer’.

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Hannah Barlow Joint managing director, Dunsters:

Over the past few years, we have focused on creating a sustainable, environmentally responsible business and, in 2019, we were delighted to be named as the Confex Green Wholesaler of the Year, as evidence of our commitment to energy saving, waste management, efficient transportation and social awareness. We have been building on this win to create future plans to protect the sustainability of our family business. For example, we are currently conducting a review of our procurement policy to ensure that we are working with responsible, likeminded companies. Furthermore, we have introduced environment and sustainability as an agenda item on all meetings and we have created a quarterly ‘Thinking Forward’ committee with representatives from all areas of the business with the remit of looking at ways of further improving our commitment to the environment. We have already made great improvements to our environmental footprint, introducing LED lighting, electric vehicles, new recycling and waste management initiatives, and have plans in place for further changes to enable us to continue operating responsibly and to protect the environment we operate in.

Sustainability checklist Confex used the following criteria to judge its Green Awards. Wholesalers should use this to check they are on the right sustainability path.

1. Energy c Lighting c Heating and refrigeration c Alternative energy sources c Water usage 2. Waste management c Waste-reduction measures c Reusing procedure c Recycling 3. Transport c Delivery vehicles c Delivery procedures c Business travel c Employee commutes

4. Social and ethical performance c Products and suppliers c Charitable donations c Community involvement 5. Environmental regulations and policy c Packaging regulations c Waste disposal 6. Financial implications c Money saved through sustainability c Investing in sustainability practices

Tom Fender Development director, TWC

According to our recent research, more than half of UK consumers consider sustainability and the potential environmental impact when ordering food in restaurants, with 66% stating that menus should use more products and ingredients from local suppliers. There is no doubt that UK consumers are ‘waking up and smelling the coffee’ when it comes to sustainable living and the importance of each one of us making a contribution to reduce the impact of climate change, reinforced by the messages that came through from COP26. Hospitality outlets are already making massive strides when it comes to sustainability and, in recent weeks, we have seen an increase in those making pledges towards net zero and the interim greener pathways that take them along this journey. Certainly, local provenance is becoming far more important in consumers’ minds. This will have been exacerbated by the fact that they ‘shopped and stayed local’ during the lockdowns, which has been influential in shaping people’s opinions on how they will shop and eat out in the future. l

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INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT

In partnership with

BrewDog Jordan Twivey, category marketing manager – off-trade, BrewDog

FAST FACT BrewDog is the first carbonnegative beer business

BWI: How important is sustainability to BrewDog and what is the company doing to increase its credentials? JT: Sustainability is the backbone of our business. As the first carbon-negative brewery, our aim is to prompt people to think more conscientiously about their purchase and lifestyle decisions, ensuring we, and future generations, have a planet to brew (and sell) beer. We believe it is the responsibility of businesses like ours to encourage change, and we are striving to take customers and shopof shoppers are more likely pers on our sustainable etration. So, good for to purchase a journey, by putting the planet and the till. beer made in a the planet first in sustainable way everything we do. From What BrewDog production, right through products should the supply chain. wholesalers be aware of? Continuing our mission to connect How is BrewDog working with people through great beer that is good wholesalers and the wider supply for the planet, we recently introduced chain to improve sustainability new session-strength BrewDog Planet across the industry? Pale (4.3% ABV). We know profit is the priority for Creating a more accessible ofwholesalers, and sustainability has to fering with wide appeal, it replaces be a balance. One way we can help BrewDog Pale Ale, with a new recipe more directly is with the products we and stronger brand proposition, to offer. Our planet-first Lost Lager is generate excitement and highlight our brewed using wind power and a third sustainability credentials. less water to make it carbon neutral. It’s also being supported by a full With 70% of shoppers more likely marketing rollout with the strapline to purchase a beer made in a sustain‘Enjoyed Responsibly Worldwide’. able way1, and 40% of the population drinking once a month or more2, there What trends and opportunities is the prospect that a sustainable beer should wholesalers be keeping track offering will not only drive existing of? Should a greater focus be placed frequency, but could grow overall pen- on the no and low opportunity?

70%

Low and no is absolutely a growing opportunity. Although still relatively small, the category continues to grow and is something wholesalers should pay close attention to. With volume sales up 14.8% year on year, the category is worth £1.6m in value. That’s up 33% versus the same time last year3. Interestingly, 20% of English adults now class themselves as non-drinkers. However, sales of low- and no-alcohol are being driven by current alcohol drinkers looking for an alternative to enable them to be more responsible – for example, driving home from social occasions. Therefore, products that provide a direct substitute for an alcoholic option will perform well, as shoppers look for brand names they know and trust4. BrewDog Punk IPA is the number-one craft beer brand5 – therefore, BrewDog Punk AF provides the ideal low-alcohol solution. l 1

YouGov BrewDog Commissioned Survey –

Beer Drinkers – Sept 2020. Unweighted base: all UK adults who drink beer every month (1,735), 2YouGov BrewDog Commissioned Survey – Unweighted base: all UK adults (4,460) – 2020, 3Nielsen 52 weeks to w/e 01.10.21, 4YouGov Survey Portman Group, 5

Nielsen Beer Scantrack MAT TY Value Sales

Total Coverage to w/e 14.08.21

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REPORT Gilroy’s Viewpoint: Operating sustainably represents a massive undertaking for wholesalers that can’t be ignored

David Gilroy is the founder and managing director of Store Excel

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ards on the table. I’m a serial polluter. I have a carbon footprint the BFG would covet. Over the years, I have driven more than a million miles, burning around 100,000l of fuel in the process. I’ve spent more than 1,000 hours on aircraft. My various homes have consumed thousands of kWh units of gas and electricity. I have disposed of countless tonnes of single-use plastic. Our ‘modern’ society is a growthcrazed junkie with fossil fuel coursing through its veins. Recent queues at petrol stations will live long in the memory. Sustainability has now come sharply into focus with the climate emergency clearly upon us. Will the COP26 pledges make a difference? Can we wait to find out? A recent Sunday Times article quotes Paul Polman, the former Unilever boss: “Companies must take ownership of both the positive and negative societal consequences arising from their activities. To do this requires leadership and

a community mindset.” In the academic literature the term ‘sustainability’ is commonly linked to ‘resilience’ and ‘survival’. Sustainability is commercially critical. Wholesalers such as Bidfood and Brakes are already demonstrably implementing their sustainability plans. But what about smaller operators? The Sunday Times quotes Adam Bostock, founder of Small99: “A lot of [sustainability] advice out there is overly technical and inappropriate for smaller firms.” He advises breaking the problem down into digestible chunks. Here, I offer my sustainability starter pack. It’s a commercially based approach covering the following areas: energy consumption, vehicle fuel, food waste, packing and recycling, product selection and people. Energy Energy costs represent a sizable proportion of any wholesaler’s overheads. The FWD says that its wholesaler members’ energy costs shot up by between 50% and 250% in October. It calculates that a single site operator using around 250,000 kWh a year would see annual bills increase by £100,000. The most obvious way to tackle this is to reduce usage. I’ve seen some stunning results achieved in supermarkets and cash and carries by measuring and reporting usage on a monthly basis and putting in simple steps to use less power such as switching off unnecessary lights in empty zones, closing down excess refrigeration and removing single electric heaters. Attention and focus make all the difference. Further savings can

The industry can expect and should prepare for a big clampdown on single-use plastic

be made by switching to LED lighting as many of the major supermarkets are now doing. It has been reported that Sainsbury’s will install 100% LED lighting by the end of the year. Looking specifically at sustainability, selecting the most appropriate energy provider offers the best starting point. Bostock states: “One of the best places to begin is to switch to a supplier of renewable energy. That’s normally going to make up a fair chunk of your firm’s emissions.” This appears to be consistent with the government’s stated aim of being fully clean-energypowered by 2035. Vehicle fuel Over the past 10 years, customer demand has driven the increase in wholesale delivered sales. As with energy, vehicle fuel costs are looming large in the overhead column. The i newspaper reports that a globally co-ordinated policy could lead to a third of vehicles being zero-emissions by 2030. Add to this the government’s latest mission that all sales of HGVs must be zero emission by 2040 and it is clear to see the direction of travel. Any move to electric or hybrid vehicles has to be a good thing, and I note the SWA lobbying for support from the Scottish government in this area.

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any support from wholesalers would be welcome. Closed-use product systems are already well underway with Tesco leading the pack with Loop, and Good Club now financed to expand its operation. There are a number of others setting off along this path. Clearly this is more difficult for convenience retail customers, but it would be interesting to test an offering for small stores.

How about installing EV chargers for customers? Meanwhile, there are significant fuel savings to be achieved through efficient route planning, vehicle loading and shedding of unprofitable accounts. Another potential saving resides among field operators. They are expensive. Do they add value? Can the business run on reduced numbers or none at all? This thinking can be extended across all colleagues. How do they commute to work? Are there schemes and facilities in place to assist with car sharing, bike commuting and broadening the use of public transport? Food waste Food waste can’t be eliminated, but it can be reduced. This means less shrinkage and less spoiled food going to landfill. The anti-waste app Too Good to Go is petitioning the government to enshrine food-reduction targets in UK law. It would also be helpful to remove the unnecessary best-before end dates from long-life canned and packet groceries. While Too Good to Go and others such as Pricecheck/Gander and Surplus Group are great at re-routing food overstocks, this is really kicking the ball off the line. The best way to reduce waste is

to not generate it in the first place. Obviously, this requires diligent ordering and close attention to stock rotation. It may also require a judicious policy of deliberate selling out and reducing range duplication. We have learned from the pandemic, and supply chain stresses the benefits of a sharply focused range. Clutter equals waste, and 100% availability 100% of the time costs money. Packaging and recycling The industry can expect and should prepare for a big clampdown on single-use plastic. The government, encouraged by the reduction in the use of plastic carrier bags, plans to bear down on hard the ‘throwaway culture’ by introducing charges for the use of all single-use materials, which go to landfill – especially plastic. The multiples have also taken the step to roll out ‘soft plastic’ collection. I’m aware that some wholesalers have this in place now and that they also offer cardboard collection to their customers. Wholesalers use a lot of single-use plastic to wrap delivery pallets for example. Maybe they should consider using reusable pallet shrouds and bands for the same purpose? It’s great news that deposit return schemes (DRS) seem poised to take off and

Product selection Consumers, as always, will ultimately determine the make-up of the food and drink range. They will demand a response from operators for responsible sourcing and it is likely that COP26 has just increased their interest. There is already strong evidence that plantbased, organic, gluten-free, dairy-free and wellness sectors are moving fully into the mainstream. I would cite local sourcing as the major opportunity for wholesalers. This adds unique, new and interesting to the range, and cuts down food miles. Many brand owners are already doing great work to modify and reformulate their product ranges, with wholesalers and consumers set to benefit. There are a lot of conversations in the industry about B-Corp and the potential use of a standard sustainability product label based on a scorecard. So, to the challenge of reducing Scope 3 emissions, which cover everything from sourcing ingredients to the disposal of packaging. Clearly, this is complex, with much not directly under the control of the wholesalers, but worth asking the questions around farming practices, packaging, recyclability, certification et al. People Involving colleagues and customers in the drive to operate sustainably will undoubtedly pay dividends. Any sustainability plan requires performance criteria, measurement, monitoring, reporting processes and regular communication to keep it real. It is amazing what can be achieved on a low budget with a plan and seriously committed people. l

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REPORT

Why a greater focus needs to be placed on mental health throughout the channel Paul Hill

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oor mental health is now the number-one reason for staff absence in the UK, according to mental health charity Mind. When asked how workplace stress had affected them, more than one in five people said they had called in sick because of it. Research from the charity also showed that 14% had resigned and 42% had considered resigning when asked how workplace stress had affected them, with more than half of employers stating they would like to do more to improve staff well-being, but don’t feel they have the right training or guidance. The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown has only added to this across the country, with the wholesale industry no exception. However, the channel appears to be

placing a greater focus on it now. JW Filshill, for example, has repositioned its business to put mental health and well-being at the heart of everything it now does, with health and safety manager Amanda Casey driving the wholesaler’s strategy to support staff through a range of measures. Casey, who joined Filshill last year, not long after the first lockdown, initially focused on ensuring the ongoing safety of staff, customers and shoppers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Since then, she has expanded her remit by engaging heavily with the workforce on health and well-being, with a particular focus on mental health. Filshill became the first wholesaler in Scotland to receive Covid-19-asymptomatic-testingcentre status in conjunction with the Scottish government. Home-testing kits are made available to those working from home. Recognising that the homeworking environment is different for everyone depending on their personal circumstances, the Scottish wholesaler conducted risk assessments for each employee, provided online training and continues to ensure that everyone receives regular well-being calls as well as the option to join in weekly group Teams chats. Women in Whole-

sale (WiW), meanwhile, is offering help with mental-health training by working with the organisation Aiding Mental Health to offer a third off the cost of online training. Mental Health First Aid is the mental health equivalent of a physical first-aid qualification and runs a two-day online course. It leads to a certification that’s accredited by The Royal Society for Public Health and the Department of Health. “One in four people are affected by mental-health issues in the UK – and it’s a problem that’s been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said WiW founder Elit Rowland. Moreover, to support the well-being of its staff, JJ Foodservice has trained 11 employees to become certified mental-health first-aiders. Learning & development manager at JJ Jaz Sandhu said: “It’s been a tough year and our team have worked incredibly hard through unprecedented circumstances. We want everyone to know that if they ever need to talk, there’s a qualified person nearby who is willing to listen and help.” If wholesale is to move from reactive management to a proactive approach of prevention in mental health, it requires buy-in from every part of the industry. It’s not only a chance to help tackle the mental-health crisis facing the UK, but also an opportunity to bring benefits to the workforce, businesses and wider society. The results are good for everyone’s health. l

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REPORT GroceryAid explains its recent mental-health work within the wholesale channel

Mandi Leonard is the welfare director of GroceryAid

GroceryAid plans to continue its support to the wholesale channel as it comes out of the pandemic

contact Emma Shepherd, head of marketing and communications. What made the charity extend its responsibilities to foodservice wholesalers? Will this continue in the future? Eighteen months ago, FWD approached us to see if we could provide support because of the catastrophic impact of Covid-19 on the hospitality sector and the immediate ramifications for companies and their employees who supply into the sector. We approached our Board of Trustees and gained agreement to extend our support to the sector, and have been doing so since the beginning of the pandemic. This support will continue. Do you have any findings or data from the past 18 months you’d be able to share? Understandably, the past 18 months has put considerable pressure on families, both emotionally and financially. In the first six months of this

financial year, we experienced a 120% increase year on year in requests for financial support. How can wholesale colleagues gain help from GroceryAid, and how are you publicising this to frontline workers? Colleagues can access GroceryAid services via our free, confidential helpline – the number for which is earlier in this piece – that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and answered by a specialist, who can provide mental-health support or direct the wholesale workers to additional advice provided by one of our partner organisations. We also have free services and advice via our website, groceryaid.org. uk/get-help. Applications for financial grants* can also be made directly on our website. Wholesale employers can also encourage colleagues to follow our social media channels because we regularly post content about our services and support on Facebook, @GroceryAid, and Instagram, @GroceryAid_UK. l

*Financial grants are subject to eligibility criteria

BWI: What work is GroceryAid doing on mental health within the wholesale industry? ML: GroceryAid is working closely with the wholesale industry to raise awareness of the welfare support services available through its free, confidential, 24-hour helpline, which operates 365 days a year. The number is 08088 021122. Anyone calling the GroceryAid helpline will be speaking to a BACP-accredited counsellor who can provide ‘in the moment’ emotional support to colleagues who are anxious or stressed. The counsellors can offer advice or support and may signpost the client to one of the additional services available. Full details can be found at groceryaid.org.uk/get-help/emotionalsupport-advice. All of these services are offered free of charge to both the employee and their employer. GroceryAid recognises that wholesalers are a vital part of the trade, and we are always looking to work with more organisations to raise awareness of our services. Any wholesalers who would like to discuss how GroceryAid can help their colleagues should

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REPORT

Sustainability needs to become a key element of all wholesale strategies Paul Hargreaves is chief executive of Cotswold Fayre

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or a couple of decades, businesses have nodded to their environmental responsibilities with their various Corporate & Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes. Many boards have made themselves feel better by ‘giving something back’ and have wanted to appear to their customers that they have purpose, aside from benefiting their shareholders. But from a legal standpoint, most businesses are constituted purely to benefit their owners and shareholders. A definition of success for directors of companies, large and small, has been profitability, with no measure or responsibility for the damage they may have done environmentally or socially. Indeed, both planet and people have been viewed as commodities from which to extract resources and time to add to the large profits already being made. Indeed, the very phrase ‘giving something back’ implies they have taken things that weren’t theirs to take in the first place. This is close to the truth. Behaviour like this is no longer good business, and companies failing to respect the environment are already feeling the pinch as their customers, particularly in the post-Covid-19 world, expect better. In other words, companies are not as good environmentally as consumers want them to be, and customers are increasingly

voting with their feet. To put it more starkly, if companies don’t get their act together in this area, they will haemorrhage revenue and may not exist in years to come. It is no longer good enough to tag on some CSR or ‘give something back’ from time to time: sustainability and being good for the environment must be a vital part of a wholesaler's strategy. Being good for the planet needs to be completely embedded within the cultural DNA of organisations. When our company, Cotswold Fayre, became a B Corp back in 2015, this is exactly what we started to do. In addition to passing a rigorous certification process to measure how good we were for the world, we changed our company articles. Legally, we no longer exist purely to benefit our shareholders, but we now exist to benefit all stakeholders. These include our workers, the local community, our supply chain, and, of course, the environment and planet. Around 650 other companies in the UK have done exactly the same. Last month, I had a produc-

tive meeting with a government minister as more than 700 companies try to get the Better Business Act through the UK parliament. This act would ensure that businesses could no longer act for profits resulting in social or environment damage, and that all businesses would have to produce a report each year telling the world what they had done to improve it according to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. As a B Corp, we produce a report each year and send it to our stakeholders, and, over the past two years, this 20-page document has become one of our best sales tools. Customers really do increasingly want to deal with good companies that are doing their utmost for positive impact. As a company, we have secured two large chunks of business within the past year worth several million pounds, where our position and action on environment issues

Legally, we no longer exist purely to benefit our shareholders, but we now exist to benefit all stakeholders

was a significant factor for those making the buying decisions. With around half the workforce now being Gen X or Gen Y, companies that are taking radical steps forward on the environment will also attract the best young talent in the employee pool. These younger generations want to work for companies that are making a difference and are motivated to make a difference in this area. We have also seen this during the past two years, during which we have taken on more than 60 new employees, many of whom are extremely motivated to make

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a difference. (It never was very motivating to go to work to make rich shareholders even richer.) In August 2019, as part of the longer-term aim to become net zero for carbon by 2030 (20 years earlier than the UK government), we became carbon neutral. We did this by reducing our carbon emissions by 46% and offsetting the rest. As a distribution company delivering around 1.5 million cases of product a year, this was a large offset bill, which will reduce as we completely eliminate carbon from

our supply chain. paradoxically for Yes, it is true that besome, extra profits ing better for the environment follow. That is not to say that does cost money, but in company directors can secretly 2021, with consumonly want more profits and ers making better look more sustainable. choices, this extra When companies money spent will do this, consumbe recouped in ers, workers and Cotswold Fayre's many cases. It everyone else reduction in certainly has for involved with carbon emissions us; in those two a company will years, our revenues detect this. increased by more However, if genuthan 50% and our profits inely compassionate leaders more than doubled. putting others and the planet When companies put people before their own needs for and planet before profits, maybe material wealth and status come

46%

to the fore, we will have better, more successful businesses and may manage to avert the climate emergency disaster that is surely coming otherwise. Better business is not just better for the planet, but profits, too. l

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REPORT

How wholesalers can better support women in the workplace? Elit Rowland is the founder of Women in Wholesale

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was reading a job application recently where the candidate listed ‘making tea’ as a hobby, ‘northern accents’ as an interest and ‘blue eyes’ as a strength – overconfident or what? In the same week, an industry friend told me about new recruits turning up on their first day, staying a few hours, then leaving by lunchtime for a better offer. It’s becoming painfully clear that we are in a candidate-driven recruitment market. Employees are firmly in the driving seat, and we need to work harder than ever to retain our best people and attract even bigger teams. At Women in Wholesale, we’ve been talking about making people

feel happy and valued at work. We already know that almost a third of women in our sector feel like they are not respected in the workplace. A sad statistic, but also a great opportunity. When we dug a little deeper, this amounted to ‘feeling left out’, not being ‘valued’ and being treated like their opinion ‘didn’t matter’. To help address this – and bearing in mind most of the senior managers in our sector are male – we held our first ‘How to be a male ally’ breakfast briefing. The outcomes were extremely interesting. Men only If you could ask any question about managing women at work,

and how to be better at it, what would you really want to know? This is what we asked our male-only group, and after a nudge or two (women are so much more forthcoming), there were some great questions. I’ve selected three, together with my personal take on the answer, although I do not profess in any way to be an expert in female psychology. 1) What one tip has had the greatest impact on your diversity strategy? Having diverse teams is not just about supporting development – it’s also about having a mixed pipeline in the first place, so how you recruit is crucial. Our session host, Chris Tarquini,

senior category manager of Brown Foreman, touched on the group’s simplified approach to writing job descriptions, which has helped the business to appeal to more women. The idea behind it is that, statistically, women will only apply for a job if they can do 100% of the requirements. Men, on the other hand, will still apply if they can only do 60%. 2) If you experience inappropriate gender-based behaviour in a meeting, do you speak up for the woman or is that seen as belittling? Calling out bad behaviour out doesn’t have to be awkward for everyone. Doing it in a positive and constructive way can make a powerful, lasting impact while setting the standard for other managers. If in doubt, I would say always call it out – nicely. 3) Does unconscious bias training really work? My personal experience is that once you learn about and are aware of your own unconscious bias, it’s very difficult to unlearn it. So, in short, yes. By nature – and nurture – we all pre-attribute certain qualities to certain people. We can’t help it. Unconscious bias smashes that pre-judgment – it broadens your thinking and, when you apply it to recruitment, it grows your talent pool. What all this equates to – a message reinforced by Chris – is that being a male ally is about being a good person. l

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REPORT

The FWD has outlined all of the key dates and points of focus for sustainability to the industry Paul Hill

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s wholesalers start tentatively looking towards a longerterm future, environmental issues are going to take centre stage once more. The FWD recently outlined key points affecting the sector to its members. Plastic packaging The plastic packaging tax comes into effect from 1 April 2022. Following feedback from the industry, the requirement to include a plastic packaging tax statement with invoices will not begin when the rest of the tax takes effect. HMRC is encouraging businesses to add this on a voluntary basis in the short term. HMRC is holding a series of webinars to help businesses learn about the tax and ask any questions wholesalers may have about the administration of the tax. Environment agency The Environment Agency has

launched a project to standardise metrics for environmental performance of the food and drink sector. The project aims to make it simpler for businesses and consumers to understand the environmental performance of companies.

and environmental impact of food items.

from electricity bills to gas bills this decade.

• Reducing carbon emissions from food production, supporting innovation in the food sector and incentivising land-use change to sequester more carbon.

• Introducing a zero-emission vehicle mandate, with targets for a percentage of manufacturers’ new car and van sales to be zero-emission each year from 2024.

Net Zero Strategy The government has launched its new Net Zero Strategy, setting out how the UK will achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which is the legally-binding target date. Key policies impacting the industry include:

• Eliminating food waste to landfill and delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 to halve food waste by 2030.

• Between 2030 and 2035, new cars and vans will only be able to be sold if they offer significant zero-emission capability.

• The Courtauld 2030 voluntary agreement with food and drink businesses, the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap and the Target Measure Act approach, as well as campaigns in the public and private sector to reduce food waste.

• The government will consult on phase out for diesel HGVs as soon as possible, and ending the sale of all non-zero-emission HGVs by 2040.

• A deposit return scheme for drinks containers and extended producer responsibility for packaging, placing the net costs of disposing of packaging on producers. • Environmental labelling within food production and disposal, including the carbon emissions

• By 2035, the UK will be powered entirely by clean electricity, subject to security of supply. • Delivering cheaper electricity by rebalancing of policy costs

“We fully accept and endorse our sector’s role in delivering the necessary actions needed on sustainability. At the same time, it’s our role to ensure the law is framed in such a way that our obligations are effective and affordable,” said James Bielby, chief executive of the FWD. l

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REPORT The SWA has published the findings of the first phase of its Decarbonisation of the Scottish Wholesale Industry project Paul Hill

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he Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA)’s long-term decarbonisation project aims to encourage the wholesale industry to become greener and more sustainable with the ultimate aim to decarbonise the food supply chain and achieve net-zero emissions by 2045. This project is claimed to be one of the most detailed undertaken by any sector involved in logistics and haulage, and is based on real data and evidence, compiled directly from its members. These newly available figures shine a spotlight on the barriers and challenges facing food and drink wholesalers as they seek ways to reduce their carbon footprint. The will is there, but its members need more support from the Scottish government to get there. Colin Smith, chief executive of the SWA, said: “We need the Scottish government to provide financial support for wholesalers to implement a wholesale industry-wide driver efficiency training programme to reduce emissions. “Some of our members are already using tools to help reduce emissions through driver efficiency, but we need more financial support to enable more wholesalers, particularly smaller ones who have suffered so much over the past 18 months, to join us on this important journey.” The SWA is also asking for wider financial support from the government to set up a wholesale

fleet audit service, enable the transition to green fleets, and for research that will help identify further routes to efficiencies with the wholesale sector. By becoming a sector lead and sharing the reports and insight with the wider food and drink industry, Scottish government, Transport Scotland and Scottish Enterprise, the SWA hopes that a more collaborative approach can be taken to transitioning to net zero. SWA has already shown its desire to work with other industry

partners and technology developers to find solutions to the challenges they face. Earlier this year, it joined forces with London-based Arcola Energy to identify the business case for fuel cell technology in the UK’s transition to zero-emission road freight. The Scottish Hydrogen Fuel Cell Freight Trial (SHyFT), led by Arcola, has secured funding from the Department of Transport’s Zero Emission Road Freight programme for the design of a trial of hydrogen fuel cell trucks, support-

ed by a green hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in Scotland. SWA members are involved in this trial. “We’ve been doing a great deal of work on decarbonisation behind the scenes and our work with Arcola is progressing well,” said Smith. Arcola has an engineering and manufacturing facility in Dundee, where it is assessing the opportunity for zero-emission fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) with key freight operators that are looking to decarbonise operations in emission-sensitive sectors such wholesale food and drink logistics

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KEY FINDINGS • The Scottish wholesale industry fleet operates a total of 2,198 vehicles. • Its baseline vehicle carbon emissions equate to 111,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum. • Seventy-five per cent of the sector’s total fleet emissions are from HGVs. • HGVs account for 48% of the total fleet and represent more than 3% of all the HGVs registered in Scotland. • There are currently no commercially viable zeroemission HGVs available in the UK. – including cold chain – and utilities and forestry. “Our work, designed to help SWA members and the wider wholesale sector become greener and more sustainable, will also help other sectors,” he added. “Our plans to decarbonise the wholesale food supply chain and achieve net-zero emissions by 2045, if not before, are ambitious, but as we heard during the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow, countries, governments and businesses must be bold in their approach.

“Our research will help wholesalers cut through the vast amount of information that is available to them by honing in on the immediate actions they can take to start their own net-zero journeys. “It also highlights to the Scottish government and its agencies the scale of the challenge the food-and-drink wholesale sector faces in the transition to net zero and, crucially, reiterates our commitment to work in partnership and face the challenges together,” Smith concluded. l

• Hydrogen-powered vehicles would appear to be the only commercially viable option for HGVs, but adoption is many years away. • The prohibitive cost of vehicles/adaptation, and lack of fuelling infrastructure, is preventing wholesalers transitioning to hydrogen. • Vans account for 16% of the total fleet and contribute to 17% of total fleet emissions. • Forty-six per cent of vans are refrigerated, but there are currently no commercially viable electrically refrigerated vans available. 23

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REPORT

Seven ways to make a wholesale operation more sustainable Charles Smith Charles Smith is a journalist with experience writing for the UK's grocery and foodservice wholesale industry

1. Reduce food waste

• Reduce waste landfill through recycling. • Source waste contractors that collect food waste and use anaerobic digestion technologies to convert it into renewable energy. • Donate leftover products from customer trade days and shows to foodbanks. • Invest in accurate forecasting systems to avoid over-purchasing, and negotiate reduced minimum-order quantities. • Review your range. Consider dropping the bottom-10%-performing SKUs unless there’s good reason to keep them. • Collect from suppliers if possible, to save time lost in groupage supply chain feeding into smaller wholesalers. With some manufacturers, it may be possible to get fresh stock on the back of large runs.

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2. Reduce packaging waste and its environmental impact

• Reduce product damage using reusable crates or tote boxes. Use biodegradable pallet wrapping. When using cardboard boxes for order fulfilment, avoid placing small items in large boxes with excessive free space, unless absolutely necessary. • Offer on-site recycling for delivered/collected wholesale customers – returning cardboard, plastic and other returnables/recyclables to recycling stations at wholesale depots allows a fully sustainable cost/ revenue neutral solution. • Replace foodservice product packaging with plant-based compostable alternatives made from renewable lower-carbon, recyclable or reclaimed materials.

3. Be more sustainable in use of hand hygiene, surface and floor cleaning, and cleaning waste products

• Train staff and promote an environmental culture, to optimise sourcing and use of sustainable cleaning products, and reduce cleaning waste. Risk-assess cleaning schedules and act accordingly. • Review cleaning products and work out the most effective solution. Most chemical wastage is through incorrect dilutions and training. Cheap chemicals often require higher volumes through higher dilution rates, making you use more while thinking you’re paying less. • Use eco-friendly solutions and find ways to reduce areas that need cleaning. • Use automatic dosers for hand sanitisers.

4. Make your premises’ lighting, heating and refrigeration more sustainable

• If you don’t have automatic meter reading, monitor electricity usage with sub metering or data loggers. • Investigate sustainable glass solutions and insulation. • Control door openings; retain heat in busy areas with air locks. • Adjust office thermostats and timers. Opening windows instead of air-con in warm weather reduces running and maintenance costs. • Change to LED lighting on timers and motion sensors so lights only operate with people present. • Switch to renewable energy, solar power and air-source heat pumps. Rooftop panels made Whitewells 80% self-sufficient on electricity. Replacing seven fridges with one walk-in saved 26.6% of their refrigeration’s carbon output.

5. Reduce the environmental impact of your road vehicles and warehouse fleet

• Reduce food miles; review delivery times and frequency to reduce the carbon footprint; utilise efficient journey planning. • Review vehicles and plant equipment. Consider HVO fuel, hybrid technologies and pure electric options. • Change forklifts from conventional battery to lithium-ion, which are

Replacing seven fridges with one walk-in saved one company 26.6% of its refrigeration’s carbon output

more energy efficient. Avoid LPG and diesel warehouse trucks. • Convert vans and delivery vehicles doing below 60 miles per day to electric. • Use electric LCVs for the last few miles in cities, to avoid heavy Low Emission Zone charges. • Install EV charging points, and migrate company cars to loweremission or electric. • Explore charging options using wind turbines or solar panels.

6. Work with suppliers to achieve greater sustainability in their products and supply chain

• Appoint an environmental, social and governance (ESG) representative to work with your supply chain partners to share best practice. • Prioritise suppliers using plastic-free packaging, FSC-certified or recycled paper, and soft drinks in rPET bottles. • Work with own-label suppliers to eradicate black plastic and fresh produce suppliers to use plastic-free alternatives. • Prioritise products made with biodegradable card instead of singleuse plastic; 100% recycled waste bags; and recycled carrier bags. • Prioritise suppliers committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and global biodiversity loss, and hold them accountable. If suppliers won’t cooperate, talk about looking elsewhere.

7. Get formal guidance and advice to improve your overall sustainability, including accreditation schemes and standards, from organisations that can help achieve these • Appoint an ESG champion to take the lead. • Partner with other wholesalers to share knowledge and insight. • Talk to logistics and sustainability experts. • Subscribe to industry and accredited standard bodies. • The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme requires companies employing more than 250 staff to undertake surveys to identify energy-saving opportunities. l

Contributions to this article came from Confex and its sustainability partners, Inspired Energy, Oakland International, Savona Foodservice and Unitas Wholesale, and its members, Robinsons Fresh Foods and Whitewells Catering Services. 25

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INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT

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Andrew Robathan is the director of e-commerce at TrueCommerce

E

How to choose it How do you know what to look for when selecting a B2B e-commerce platform and comparing e-commerce providers?

-commerce and digital • Make sure you invest in a solution transformation represent that is specifically designed to address a huge opportunity for the complexities of B2B trading. the wholesaler sector. The There are lots of B2C systems also bedemographic of the B2B ing sold as B2B. Ensure your provider buyer is changing and there is now an is a B2B specialist. expectation that wholesalers will offer a good online ordering experience. • Check your provider can successfulWholesalers who rely solely on ofly demonstrate the functionality you fline order taking are almost certainly need to deliver your e-commerce stratlosing customers and market share egy. If they have to go off and develop to forward-thinking competit, this will add considerable itors who are embracing risk and delay your time to the new generation of value, so they’re probabuyers whose primary bly not a specialist. The number interaction is now of features online. Quite simply, • Does the solution TrueCommerce an online ordering offer added value such offers for B2B solution is no longer as self-service functionscenarios a differentiator in the ality, or is it simply an wholesale sector, it’s a online ordering portal? Your prerequisite. customer will want a solution that gives them 100% online control of How to achieve it their relationship with you. It is crucial for wholesalers to recognise the complexities and specialities • Ask for case studies. It is important of B2B trading. A successful e-comthat the provider understands the merce solution for the wholesale unique requirements of the wholesale industry must have the ease and famil- sector and has proven experience. iarity of a B2C solution coupled with the advanced functionality required What is required? for business customers. A B2B e-commerce store front can The TrueCommerce B2B e-comhave a dramatic impact on sales, with merce solution has been designed the ability to instantly facilitate online from the ground up to be a thoroughorders from your customers 24/7 and bred enterprise level platform to meet increase your international reach. The the unique needs of wholesalers. key to persuading customers to move TrueCommerce’s clients benefit to online purchasing is speed and effifrom a class-leading user interface ciency, with functionality that enables coupled with support for super-sized quick and easy repeat ordering playing catalogues, volume-based pricing, a key role. multi-site ordering, express checkout, Once your customers are trading on-

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line, sophisticated and intelligent functionality, such as advanced promotions and predictive AI re-ordering, can be used to encourage your customers to increase their spend while improving your profit margin through increased efficiency. Shortlist a few experienced B2B solution providers today to determine which can provide the best-fit solution for your business and team. The sooner you do this, the sooner you can start reaping the benefits. About us TrueCommerce specialises in digital commerce, providing solutions that help leading wholesale organisations manage and process 100% of their digital transactions regardless of the sales channel. Our suite of interconnected applications cover EDI, e-commerce, marketplaces and PDF order conversion through to product information management and the

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In partnership with

SUPPLIER VIEWPOINT Andrew Robathan Director of e-commerce, TrueCommerce

“The TrueCommerce B2B product is modular and scalable to fit the budgets and requirements of small wholesalers through to the largest. With client revenues ranging from £5m to £5bn, we have an unparalleled level of experience in delivering e-commerce strategies for our clients, which range from the most simple through to highly complex. Our product is constantly evolving – we invest heavily in R&D to ensure we keep our clients ahead of their competitors, and leaders in their sector. Our clients also benefit from being able to contribute to the product roadmap, ensuring it fits 100% with their future strategies.”

WHOLESALER VIEWPOINT Richard Hayhoe Marketing director, Matthew Clark

packing and shipping of the order – all of this is underpinned by our unrivalled integration expertise. Right from its conception 22 years ago, the TrueCommerce e-commerce platform has been a B2B-focused solution. When it comes to implementation, best-in-class solutions can be set up without the need for weeks or even years of development, and the associated cost and risk. Clients simply select the relevant features and we configure the solution as required. This means project lead times are short and costs are low. Working in conjunction with leading wholesalers, we have developed an unrivalled suite of more than 300 B2B features that allow us to service even the most complex B2B scenarios. Increase sales and improve customer service, while improving efficiency and reducing costs, with the TrueCommerce B2B e-commerce platform. l

TrueCommerce increases sales and improves customer service, while improving efficiency

“The TrueCommerce Netalogue B2B e-commerce platform is now a fundamental part of our customer proposition. Our web store is no longer just a bolt-on to facilitate online orders, it is a key element of the service and experience we provide our customers, and has been a key driver in transitioning our business from analogue to a much more digital experience. “We shared our long-term vision with the TrueCommerce Netalogue team and asked how we could improve what we are offering our customers via the platform. In doing so, we worked collaboratively to deliver guest checkout, better taxonomy in search, automated account setup, electronic account application and online-only promotions.” “In a dynamic and fast-paced industry that operates outside of normal business hours, there is no better way to present more than 7,000 products than an e-commerce platform. The old days of paper brochures and printed trade lists have gone, they are no longer feasible. B2B customers are no different to B2C customers in their expectations, they want to see the products they are buying. “The TrueCommerce Netalogue platform has helped us vastly improve the customer experience we provide and, consequently, our e-commerce customers are spending more per order, shopping more often, buying more brands and are, ultimately, more loyal.”

With TrueCommerce, a best-in-class B2B e-commerce solution can be set up without the need for weeks, or even years, of development 27

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SECTOR REVIEW – CONFECTIONERY

Confectionery Tom Gockelen-Kozlowski

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here are few things that are certain in life, but the enduring popularity of confectionery among consumers of all ages remains resolute in a fast-changing world. “For consumers, confectionery is an exciting category as it can bring genuine moments of everyday indulgence,” says Nick Reade, sales director at Mars Wrigley. “Despite the changes to our lives over the past months, we have still seen consumers look for the products they love, and are familiar to them.” The challenge for wholesalers and suppliers is to drive sell through by creating compelling new and updated products without risking overexposure to passing trends that could leave a trail of unsold stock in its wake. This balance has led to a new strategy from Mars Wrigley, which is moving away from a model of constant short-term innovation. “As a company, we’re committed to developing a long-term portfolio that will succeed far beyond limited-editions and will become consumer favourites by drawing on in-depth market insight and consumer testing,” Reade says. The firm points to the success of Skittles Giants, three times the size of the traditional brand, which has become a mainstay of confectionery ranges since its launch in 2020. Nestlé is similarly utilising opportunities for innovation to create long-term additions to key brands. Last year, the company launched salted-caramel-flavoured Quality Street Intrigue, contributing to an overall 7.2% growth in sharing boxed chocolates sales. This year, it is extending the range with a new Orange Truffle variant. Nestlé’s £2m marketing

SUPPLIER VIEWPOINT Mark Walker Sales director, Swizzels

“Value-for-money confectionery continues to be a hugely popular choice for shoppers, particularly as financial circumstances for many have changed over the course of the pandemic. “According to recent research, one in five shoppers are more likely to shop in a particular convenience store if they know it stocks price-marked packs (PMPs), and PMPs sell five times more than their non-PMP equivalents. It’s therefore important for wholesalers to help retailers stock a range of value products from popular brands to boost sales. “Swizzels’ newest addition to its PMP range is the Drumstick Chocolate bar. Typically known for its ingenious sweet inventions and countless favourites spanning

more than 90 years, Swizzels has entered the chocolate bar category for the first time in its history with this new product. Made with 100% recyclable packaging, and with appeal across generations, it has already generated a lot of attention, with 3.7 million bars sold since launch. “Large chocolate blocks are in 25% growth, so this is a must-stock. Hanging bags will also be a key format to focus on for Easter 2022, and the sector is currently performing well in the current climate, growing 6% in value sales. Squashies, our number-one hanging bag brand, is bringing back its popular Easter variant, Drumchick Squashies, which is also a must-stock confectionery product at Easter.”

investment during the key confectionery sales period this year highlights how it sees this launch as playing an important role in its portfolio of products year-round. Orange flavours The new Quality Street Intrigue extension also provides further evidence of the current trend for orange flavours. With sales of orange-flavoured confectionery growing by 20% in the past two years, Mars Wrigley has launched new varieties of seasonal and year-round brands, including Maltesers Bunny Orange, Galaxy Orange Truffles and Galaxy Orange Block bars. Another manufacturer to focus on the longer term is Ferrero. In October, the company launched its first Ferrero Rocher tablet. Available in milk-, white- and dark-chocolate flavours, the launch has been supported by a £6m marketing campaign. Reacting to another growing area of consumer concern, Ferrero has also introduced a new eco-

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SECTOR REVIEW – CONFECTIONERY designed box for its Ferrero Rocher range, as part of its ongoing commitment to making 100% of its packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. “The Ferrero Rocher eco-designed box is a clear example of our dedication to enhancing packaging circularity,” says Fabio Mora, global packaging director of The Ferrero Group. “Packaging is a complex issue that we are committed to working in close collaboration to build a more circular economy through packaging-related strategies, joining forces with governments, manufacturers, suppliers, waste disposal management companies, NGOs, and others.” Health importance Other trends in the confectionery market also play into longer-term shifts in consumer behaviour. Chief among these is the

growing preference for products that can fit more easily into healthy lifestyles. According to Mondelez, 25% of shoppers are more influenced by health when grocery shopping than they were pre-pandemic. “We recognise we have a role to play to help people make the right dietary choices, focusing on the areas we believe will have the greatest impact,” says Susan Nash, trade communications manager at Mondelez. The confectionery giant has launched a 30% Less Sugar variant for its Maynards Bassetts Wine Gums. “By displaying these alongside the core packs, wholesalers can enhance their current confectionery offering by satisfying retailers’ demand for less-sugar sweets,” she says. While some brands have reformatted recipes to offer a more health-conscious option to con-

PRODUCT NEWS

Drumstick Chocolate Bar – In a first for Swizzels, the firm has brought together its classic Drumstick Lolly flavour and encased it in milk chocolate.

Galaxy Orange Block – Mars Wrigley says orange-flavoured chocolate has grown by 20% in the past two years. It has therefore launched this bar alongside two other orange variants.

Skittles Giants – A key sugar confectionery launch from 2020, Skittles Giants are three times the size of standard Skittles and meet a demand for variety in texture and flavour.

Chupa Chups Sour Lollies – Perfetti Van Melle has added two new Chupa Chups lines to its portfolio. The Lollies contain 10 individually wrapped pieces in various flavours.

Maynards Bassetts Wine Gums 30% Less Sugar – With approximately 19g less sugar per 100g, this new product responds to growing consumer awareness of health.

Quality Street Intrigue Orange Truffles – Having launched a salted caramel flavour in 2020, Nestlé has added an on-trend orange flavour in the run-up to Christmas 2021.

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SECTOR REVIEW – CONFECTIONERY

TAKEAWAY POINTS sumers, others have focused on packaging and format to deliver wider choices to these shoppers. “Earlier this year, research showed that 50% of shoppers consider the portion size when choosing snacks, with 68% of the UK population claiming they would rather have less of a favourite chocolate than a larger amount of a low-sugar chocolate,” explains Mars Wrigley’s Reade. “As a result, we’ve adapted our products to appeal to consumers who are more concerned with healthy eating. “Most recently, we launched Mars Wrigley’s 100 calories or less bars, a new format for Mars, Snickers and Twix bars that give consumers the chance to enjoy some of the nation’s favourite brands in a more compact and convenient size, without compromising on taste.” Of course, as 2022 approaches, spring confectionery will undoubtedly still see huge opportunities for brands that deliver seasonal cheer.

“Lovers of Swizzels’ product range as a whole will enjoy its Sweet Shop Favourites Pouch over the Easter season, containing popular sweets such as Drumsticks, Love Hearts, Refreshers and more,” says Mark Walker, sales director at Swizzels. Walker says sharing bags will play a key role this spring and urges wholesalers to help retailers ensure stocks are high. “To maximise sales of these impulse treats, displaying them at the ends of aisles or at tills will be the best ways to catch the eyes of shoppers,” he adds. Nash agrees: “It’s important that wholesalers offer a range of sharing bags, alongside the latest innovations, to help meet the needs of their retail customers and drive sales from their range.” As brands increasingly look to the long term, whether in their product innovation, packaging or category management, wholesalers who engage with the advice and insight of suppliers today look set ensure success well into the future.

1. Focus on the long-term winners – Suppliers are increasingly planning for launches to go the distance, fighting for a place in a store’s core range. Wholesalers should therefore work to find the products and suppliers whose products have long-term staying power for both their ranges and their customers, in place of the shortterm limited-editions that have previously dominated the category. Similarly, suppliers are also increasingly focused on delivering sustainable packaging and setting targets for change. As consumers increasingly opt for brands that “do the right thing” in relation to the environment, wholesalers will want to take note. 2. Health-conscious products – Unsurprisingly, a two-year international health crisis has supercharged the growing demand for products that fit within a healthier lifestyle. Suppliers are finding a range of ways to cater for this, including reformulating products to offer lower-sugar or sugar-free options. Yet, brands are also finding that consumers don’t want to compromise on the familiar taste from the brands they love. Therefore, a growing market has emerged for portion-control formats that allow a limited number of calories per serving. Different products may require different solutions, so closely watching this trend will be crucial to success. 3. Sharing formats remain key – As Easter 2022 comes gradually into focus, suppliers agree that sharing formats are likely to take centre stage with a range of new flavours, innovations and seasonal formats planned. As the UK leaves behind the shadow of the pandemic as the year progresses, products that provide an excuse for – or help enrich – a social occasion are likely to be top sellers, suppliers say. In addition to this, the return of much-loved Easter novelties from major brands are also likely to make Easter 2022 feel like the first major seasonal event since the start of the pandemic. l

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SECTOR REVIEW – HOT BEVERAGES & COLD BREWS

Hot beverages & cold brews Tom Gockelen-Kozlowski

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ot beverages, alongside its sister category – the fast-growing cold brews sector – is one area of the industry that remains crucial to both retail and foodservice businesses. Analysts agree, however, that it has also has been one of the categories most affected by the pandemic and the switch to home working. “Hot beverage sales are down by 11% with Covid-19 restrictions dramatically altering the ways consumers drink tea and coffee,” says Marcus Vallance, head of wholesale at data analysts SalesOut. “The reduction in office visits has subsequently led to a reduction in the purchasing of bulk beverages.” In contrast, iced tea and coffee sales have grown by 27% year on year, SalesOut data shows. Despite the challenges and transformation of this sector, suppliers remain confident of the profit opportunity that exists for all parts of the supply chain, investing in innovative products that cater to a range of trends. Alternative options One clear opportunity for growth has arrived thanks to the rise of plant-based diets and alternative milks. In the months leading up to the pandemic, Nestlé launched three plant-based frothy coffee sachet products under its Nescafé Gold brand. The almond, oat and coconut lattes are all certified by the Vegan Society and claim to be the world’s first plant-based soluble coffee mixes. “The blends of 100% Arabica

coffee have been specially crafted to mix perfectly with the plant-based ingredients to create smooth, creamy-tasting lattes,” says Abu-Bakr Bapu, customer category manager for wholesale and convenience at Nestlé. Another trend to have emerged in the past 12 months has been the rise of hemp teas. Clipper has launched two varieties – Organic

Karma Mama and Organic Groovy Ginger Hemp – both containing hemp seed and chamomile tea alongside a selection of herbs and flavours. “Offering a point of difference in the hemp tea segment, Clipper’s new blends use hemp seed, which is ordinarily discarded in hemp production,” says Bryan Martins, Clipper Teas’ marketing and

category director at Ecotone UK. “Unlike hemp leaves, that have a strong, grassy taste, hemp seeds don’t have a specific flavour. This allows Clipper to blend with carefully-crafted botanicals to deliver the delicious and distinctive Clipper taste experience, while harnessing the natural benefits of the ingredients.” Underpinning the rise of both

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SUPPLIER VIEWPOINT Brett Grimshaw Director of sales, Tata Consumer Products

“To say that the sector has gone through turbulent times is underplaying the seismic commercial impact of the pandemic. Literally overnight, the bottom dropped from hospitality, and wholesalers lost rafts of foodservice customers in one hit. “The need to adapt to support their current customer base and identify and respond to new opportunities for sales and new routes to market was critical, and we’re proud that we played our part in working with our customers to support them through this. “Everyday black teas con-

tinue to top the list of buys, so remain a must-stock, but there are opportunities to add value here. Premium black teas surged at the height of the pandemic as consumers explored a broader mix of teas to enjoy at home, and this desire to spend a little bit more for a step up in experience presents real opportunities for higher-value sales. “Tetley remains the number-one tea brand in foodservice, impulse and in Scotland, and it is also the leading decaf brand in the market. Within impulse, it also has the top-selling black, decaf and Redbush SKUs.”

plant milks and hemp teas is a concern, particularly from younger consumers, for more environmentally-conscious products in the sector. “Sustainability is a growing concern and priority for shoppers; the past two years have really seen the rise of the ‘conscious consumer’ within the hot beverages category,” says Martins. The number of consumers who actively consider the sustainability of products prior to purchase has risen by 25% since 2019, he adds. Clipper was the world’s first tea brand to create a fully biodegradable, unbleached and non-GM tea bag. Tetley, meanwhile, has signed up to the UK Plastics Pact, committing to 100% of any plastic packaging in its business being reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025. To date, the outer

packaging and starter kit bottle for Tetley Cold Infusions and all Tetley Super Squash bottles – alongside Tetley green, fruit and herbal teas – are fully recyclable. Indulgence and premiumisation Two other linked trends currently driving sales are indulgence and premiumisation, particularly in the hot chocolate sector. “Consumers increasingly say that if they are going to have a treat, it should be something they really enjoy, so premiumisation is a key trend within the hot chocolate category,” says Susan Nash, trade communications manager at Mondelez. “Mirroring this, premium hot chocolate brand Green & Black’s has grown by 8.2% over the past year, with the organic market also in growth.” When it comes to hospital-

PRODUCT NEWS

Nescafé Gold Almond Latte – The Vegan Society-certified sachets also come in oat milk and coconut milk varieties. Nestlé says the range meets growing demand for non-dairy lines.

Clipper Organic Karma Mama Hemp – Clipper’s hemp tea is infused with hemp seed, chamomile, lavender, lemon balm and tulsi. It also comes in a range of other varieties.

Nescafé Azera Craft Coffee – Nestlé has partnered with independent Manchester-based coffee roastery Grindsmith to create the UK’s first craft coffee in an instant format.

Cadbury Highlights Milk Chocolate – Mondelez’s lighter alternative for the hot chocolate market contains only 38 calories per cup and boasts a recently improved flavour and pack design.

Tetley Super Fruits Boost Blueberry & Raspberry – With added vitamin B6 to help reduce tiredness and fatigue, this addition caters to shoppers who want healthier lifestyles.

Cafédirect Freeze Dried Instant Decaf Machu Picchu Coffee – This joins Cafédirect’s popular instant line up ahead of the introduction of a whole bean sibling for filters and cafetières next year.

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SECTOR REVIEW – HOT BEVERAGES & COLD BREWS ity and catering customers, meanwhile, Nestlé Professional’s beverages brand manager, Cecilia Farr, recommends wholesalers look to the trends and experiences consumers are seeking at home. “Looking at the long-term, wholesalers should take advantage of the different ways and reasons behind coffee’s consumption,” she says. “Coffee is consumed in the morning to start the day, during the day as an energising break, as a social connector, to escape and disconnect. This fact offers many possibilities to wholesalers to present different offerings to their customers.” How can wholesalers translate all this into a strategy for success in depot? According to Nestlé, encouraging stores to think carefully about building their hot-beverage fixture is key. “One way in which wholesalers can support customers within this category is through ‘fixturisation’,” says Abu-Bakr Bapu. “There is a typical shopper’s journey for the coffee category, with the largest segment being regular soluble coffee. “This is the starting point for almost one-in-four entrants to the category. Shoppers then tend to stay loyal to the segment they first bought into, with those who do change more likely to trade up than trade down.” Nestlé therefore recommends that products are placed in order from economy and powder to regular, then premium and superpremium. Organic, and roast and ground coffee is next with the fixture ending with pods. Tetley, meanwhile, is tapping into the opportunities presented by technology – and its use during the pandemic – to help depots improve their retail customers’ category management. The firm has created a digital interface to share advice, insight and product information throughout the supply chain. One insight the firm is keen to emphasise is

the importance of format to a successful range. “Catering to different shopper missions with relevant pack sizes is important. Smaller packs of 40s cater to emergency top-ups, while 80s are a key pack for shoppers on a planned mission and 240s are great for a family buy,” says director of sales at Tata Consumer Products Brett Grimshaw. One other company in the category that has seen huge growth in 2021 is Cafédirect. Lesley Parker, brand controller for the company at distributor RH Amar, explains: “New listings throughout all retail channels have helped the brand to secure a 6.8% share of all coffee sales and the majority of the brand’s growth (85%) has come from increasing demand for Cafédirect’s popular Single Origins range – including our Machu Picchu, Mayan Gold, Colombia Reserva and Kilimanjaro offerings. “A busy promotional programme for Cafédirect in 2021, coupled with a high-profile TV advertising campaign, new packaging and the introduction of products, has seen the brand cement its position as a key growth driver.” Finding success in this essential category as we approach 2022 requires wholesalers not only to stay up to date with a wealth of trends and innovations that are transforming the market, but also to keep their eye on the ball by the stocking the right formats and core brands that consumers trust. It sounds easy when you put it like that. l

TAKEAWAY POINTS 1. A premium range is essential – Whether it’s consumers wanting to treat themselves with a premium hot chocolate or office workers expecting to maintain their at-home standard of coffee as they return to the workplace, wholesalers should be encouraging both retail and catering customers to trade up their ranges. After a year when sales in many hot beverage sectors have been hit hard, offering premium options presents businesses in both channels with an invaluable opportunity to boost their profitability. 2. Focus on formats and merchandising – The basics of depot management have rarely been as important as they are now, with both convenience stores and caterers looking to return to their pre-pandemic operations. That means clear merchandising of fixtures and stocking formats suitable for a range of consumer needs. Fortunately, brands are ready to share advice and insight, as well as having in-person and digital support on hand to help wholesalers get their ranges right. 3. Sustainability is becoming more important – Whether it is in the ingredients used in their products, their packaging or their manufacturing processes, brands are rethinking the way they do business to appeal to the changing demands of younger consumers. This includes the use of plant milks and vegan options, recyclable packaging and fully traceable ingredients. Where this features in on-pack communication or promotions, wholesalers who pass on these messages may well help their customers benefit from the additional sales and brand loyalty this creates.

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In the March issue of Better Wholesaling Insight:

The future of wholesale and how to prepare for it: exploring the landscape ahead and what you should be doing to future-proof your business • Why you need to act now and how you go about doing so • A guide on what wholesale will look like in the future and how to prepare for it • A SWOT analysis of the current wholesale landscape For more information about Better Wholesaling Insight, please contact Michael Sharp on 020 7689 3363 Better Wholesaling Insight: stay informed and get ahead

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82% of consumers are unable to name a retailer doing a good job of reducing plastic waste*

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