Message from the editor: The theory of wholesale evolution – in practice

craft beer

The theme of the Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) conference in Crieff last month was evolution.

In his final speech before handing over the chains of office to Booker’s Eddie Lynagh, SWA president Asim Sarwar said: “Progress cannot come without evolution – it’s about understanding what our members want, whether they are retailers, caterers or other hospitality providers.”

So what does evolution mean in practice and where do we find the inspiration to evolve? Bidvest Foodservice’s group sales director Andy Kemp recently spoke to us following the company’s decision to rebrand from Bidvest 3663. There is much the UK wholesale market could learn from the US, he said – particularly about healthy eating and gluten-free food.

In our cover story this month, we look at how wholesalers can grab a bite of the extra £10bn in foodservice sales predicted by the close of 2019.

It’s American trends that are leading the way in out-of-home eating, not just with gluten-free menus but also hot dogs and other ‘dude foods’. Craft beer – one of the industry’s hottest trends right now – accounts for 10% of all beer sales in the US, but still only 1% here.

Continuing the American theme, Walmart comes under the spotlight on page 8 with its strategy of learning to ‘fail fast’ in pursuit of innovation.

There is plenty for wholesalers to aim at by learning from our cousins across the pond – take a look and see what ideas inspire you to evolve.

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Tan Parsons
Tan is the former editor of Better Wholesaling. Previously the news and alcohol editor of sister title Retail Express, Tan has a wealth of experience writing about the convenience retail industry.

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