Deals worth almost £1.9m were concluded across Fairway Foodservice’s two meet the member events in 2017 – a record amount for the buying group, a spokesman revealed today.
At its latest event, deals worth more than £971,000 were recorded between Fairway’s 20 members and the 44 suppliers who attended. This figure is the highest amount taken at a single event (previously £904,000).
The total amount across both events in 2017 ‘smashes’ the previous record of £1.3m in 2016. It continues a strong year for the buying group with two new members, Miller Foodservice and Young’s Foods, joining Fairway.
The two-day Meet the Member event saw suppliers meet with Fairway members in a speed dating-style format, using 15-minute appointments to pitch more than 100 new products and deals of the day. It was held at Drayton Manor after 12 years at Villa Park.
The bi-annual event gave Fairway Foodservice members an opportunity to share information on the foodservice industry and talk to suppliers about their product lines.
Fairway Foodservice chief executive Chris Binge said: “It is great that members continue to surpass previous purchasing spends because it is indicative that the process works for them. And via formal and informal feedback from suppliers, we know that the event works well for them too, and that is important to us.
“There is a lot of talk about ‘win win’ negotiations and ‘supply partnerships’ but that is what foodservice is all about – relationships at all levels of business.
“We treat our suppliers with respect and we try to make sure we all share in the successes we have – none of us succeeds without the other parties in the chain.
“The Fairway team organised and managed the event extremely well and I am proud of them all. In addition, Drayton Manor was a very good venue, particularly with the convenience of having everything in one location, which was appreciated by all participants and allowed plenty of opportunity for member networking. Some even had time for a few thrills in the amusement park!”
Suppliers ranged from multinational companies such as Unilever and D’Arta to successful British businesses, including Kara Foodservice, the biggest cake producer in the UK for retail.
Miller Foodservice’s managing director Garreth Wilson, whose company joined the buying group earlier this year, was thrilled with his first official taste of a Fairway Meet the Member event.
“The event was fantastic for us,” he said. “We have built relationships with new suppliers, as well as cemented relationships with our existing suppliers.
“We have purchased new products to add to our range, as well as increased quantities on our existing product orders.
“The organisation of the event has been professional and the two days have been very beneficial to Miller Foodservice.
“In addition, the venue consisted of the hotel, restaurant, board room, and the event itself. This removed unnecessary travel and stress, which was a huge bonus for me.”
Sally Nicholson, national account manager at Kara Foodservice, said: “We love the Fairway Meet the Member event, and it provides fantastic value for us as a manufacturer.
“The speed dating format works very well as we get to talk to all of Fairway’s members in one day. It’s very effective and efficient to showcase our new ranges.
“It’s also a good refresher for the wholesalers, which may have forgotten about some of the products or their characteristics.”
Fairway Foodservice’s next Meet the Member event is on 13 and 14 March.
Fairway’s collective turnover has grown £7m in 1984 to £653.5m in 2017.
Alongside access to a range of products, members benefit from collective buying power on a number of lines, significant marketing support and subscription discounts to the Erudus One product specification database.