Five things we learned at An Evening With The Country Range Group

Birchall Foodservice picking up its award for Best Group Support Of The Year

More than 300 industry delegates were in London to celebrate The Country Range Group’s annual An Evening With… event as the foodservice buying group celebrated a successful year and honoured its supplier and member awards.

Group managing director and newly appointed FWD chairman, Coral Rose, said: “Our annual awards are a fantastic way for the group to get together and celebrate our successes over the past year, while paying homage to our member and supplier award winners. It’s always brilliant to see so many friends and colleagues all under one roof and a huge congratulations to all who picked up awards on the night. The group continues to perform magnificently with turnover up over the past year, so it was fantastic to celebrate the success in such a stunning and historical venue.”

Here are five things we learned at the event:

1. A centralised database for allergen information will be one of the key priorities for new FWD chairman Coral Rose. “This is a topic I initially brought up with the FWD as I believe it absolutely essential wholesalers provide accurate information to their customers. I will be hoping to ensure that the government make it mandatory for suppliers to upload and update data to a central depository.”

2. The introduction of Blakemore Foodservice to the group now brings the total to 13 independent wholesalers, with Blakemore head Caoire Blakemore explaining: “Country Range is widely recognised as a trusted brand, and we’re really excited to bring their range, developed exclusively for professional caterers, to our customers.”

Alongside Blakemore, the Country Range Group is now made up of:
Birchall Foodservice, Caterite Foodservice, Creed Foodservice, Dunns Food and Drinks, EFG Foodservice, Harvest Fine Foods, Henderson Foodservice,  Savona Foodservice, Savona Foodservice South West, Thomas Ridley Foodservice, Trevors Foodservice and Turner Price.

3. The Group’s annual exhibition generated a record £3m in orders for visiting suppliers, while the Country Range brand has added a further 42 products to its portfolio over the year. This means it now provides more than 800 products, all developed exclusively for professional caterers under the Country Range brand. The company’s sponsorship of the Student Chef Challenge has also been maintained and continues to support, nurture and develop the next generation of student chefs.

4. Unilever Food Solutions was the big winner in the supplier awards, picking up the Branded Supplier Of The Year gong alongside its award for Marketing Excellence. Country Range trading director Martyn Ward, said: “Our annual supplier awards help to highlight and reward the companies, brands and people driving innovation, quality and improving service and their support and hard work is vital to the success we have seen this year. It’s access to the Country Range brand and extensive marketing support, along with the professional customer service, that sets our members apart in the foodservice market and enables them to provide the full package to chefs and caterers.”

The 2019 Supplier Award Winners were as follows:
Marketing Excellence of the Year – Unilever Food Solutions
Business Relationship of the Year – Aimia Foods Ltd.
Service Performance of the Year – Suncream Dairies
Newcomer of the Year – Essential Cuisine Ltd
Own Brand Supplier of the Year – D’Arta
Frozen Supplier of the Year – The Handmade Cake Company
Branded Supplier of the Year – Unilever Food Solutions

5. The four member awards were shared equally between four wholesalers. Steve Whitwam, sales & marketing director of Harvest Fine Foods said: “For us to get to the final three in three out of four awards and to have a first, second and third place in them was amazing for us. We are so proud of our team.”

The 2019 Member Award Winners were as follows:
Best Brand Performance of the Year – Creed Foodservice
Best Own Brand Performance of the Year – Harvest Fine Foods
Telesales Focus Team of the Year – Turner Price
Best Group Support of the Year – Birchall Foodservice

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Paul Hill
Paul Hill is the Editor of Better Wholesaling. Paul can be found on Twitter on @BW_PaulHill, or can be contacted via paul.hill@newtrade.co.uk and 020 7689 3376.

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