Suppliers must look to channels outside the big supermarkets

David Cattrall, Booker sales director for catering, has urged suppliers to reconsider how they target wholesalers as their importance continues to grow in both the retail and foodservice channels.

Speaking at the launch of exclusive him! research into the channel last month, Cattrall detailed the strength of Booker’s continued growth, and wholesalers in general, on the back of a sea-change in the way consumers shop and eat out more frequently.

He highlighted how as more people chose to eat out a lot more food was being cooked out-of-home and pointed to one independent diner in Swansea, Wales which was catering for between 7,000 and 10,000 meals per week.

“My colleagues over on the retail side are seeing an awful lot of benefit as well, so we’re seeing a lot more growth in convenience stores,” Cattrall added, pointing to one Premier store in Sheffield that had experienced more growth over the Christmas period than the supermarkets.

And he said that the multiples shift into the convenience market was not necessarily a bad thing either because as they opened more local outlets they also contributed to breaking up the traditionally big weekly shop, in turn creating more opportunities for smaller, independent retailers to compete on the high street again.

Now, according to Cattrall, is the time for suppliers to take a close look at how they approach their markets. “The challenge for suppliers is to think about how to get growth outside of the supermarkets. The real question is ‘do you put your best people where the growth is? Do you put your best products where the growth is coming through?'”

*For the full results from him!’s research into the foodservice and retail wholesaling channels see the September issue of Wholesale News

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