Caterforce strengthens its position with a revamped Chefs’ Selections range

Foodservice wholesale buying group Caterforce has relaunched its revamped Chefs’ Selections portfolio with NPD and a review of existing products.

The own-brand makeover forms part of the group’s “ambitious” overall growth strategy that last year saw it take its first steps to secure national accounts to be serviced across its membership.

Caterforce MD Nick Redford told Wholesale News that discussions were now underway and two major contracts were likely to be announced this year.

The Caterforce drive into national accounts comes as the industry is still speculating on the main reasons behind the Booker/Tesco merger. Like many other industry insiders, Redford believes that Tesco’s motive was to tap into Booker’s lucrative slice of the foodservice market and that the merger will force change on the foodservice landscape as it stands.

He added that it had to be assumed that national accounts would be a major target for the combined group and that would see more polarisation in the market – with large “super-wholesalers” and small, specialist niche businesses doing well but middle-tier players struggling.

However, he underlined that Caterforce’s eight members, between them turning over some £525m were strong enough to see off any competition and that the year-long review of the £35m Chefs’ Selections range was part of giving members the tools they need to compete more effectively in the market.

“A great deal of work has been put into further developing the Chefs’ Selection brand and we’ve drawn very much on the passion for food within the business and for offering best products and service to our members’ customers.”
He added that the NPD team led by Kelly Orme, Caterforce group buying manager who joined in 2015, includes a violet and blackberry cake, chunky chips to tap into the casual dining trend, alongside rustic Gallega bake-off rolls.

Another relatively new member of the Caterforce team is group marketing manager Lucy Allen, who joined last summer and took charge of the group’s rebrand and the roll-out of the relaunched Chefs’ Selections to members. She said the group was now working on more tools to help give the own-label a strong “tone of voice” and to underline what the brand stands for.

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