Specialist wholesaler JJ Food Service this week announced that it is broadening its customer base to supply gastro-pubs, restaurants and hotels. The operator previously focused on a core customer base of cafes, coffee shops and quick service restaurants, as well as schools and local authorities.
JJ, which has eight branches across the UK, is supporting the move by working with fresh, local and gluten-free suppliers, and by tripling its field sales force over the next six months.
Managing director Mustafa Kiamil said: “Consumers are expecting more from menus – they want to be told where food is from and whether it’s free range, sustainably sourced, gluten free, animal welfare-approved etc. And many of them will pay more to have it.”
In response, JJ has started to work with a leading British fresh lamb and beef processor, which has a number of certifications to support quality, traceability and animal welfare standards, including Farm Quality Assurance, Red Tractor, Freedom Food and more.
JJ’s chief product officer Ali Guvemli added: “Quality is critical when it comes to fresh beef and lamb, and these certifications are important marketing tools for our customers’ menus.”
Over the coming months, JJ will be also launching a new range of own-label, gluten-free lines, including chips, flour and key bakery items. Gluten-free pasta and batter mix are also in the pipeline.
The new products, which will begin to be available from this month, will be supported with new labels which will help caterers and foodservice outlets to comply with changing legislation.
JJ also offers an online ordering service, which the company says is “doing particularly well as more chefs and caterers choose to shop online or on-the go via smart phones or tablets”.
“60% of our sales now come from online orders, particularly click amp; collect, compared with 20% just two years ago”, said Kiamil. “We are well-positioned to support the move towards online shopping and are in the process of making our website even easier for our customers to use,” he added.