Elit Rowland speaks to All About Food commerical director Chris McLaughlin about the rise of spice.
ER: How important is wholesale to your business?
CM: At the moment, 8% of our business goes through convenience and 5% goes through wholesale. There’s a great opportunity for growth – if you look at what the IGD and other industry experts are saying, wholesale and convenience are growing. It’s an exciting channel to work in and we’d like to help the wholesale channel to sell more.
92% of households haven’t tried Nando’s sauces
Nando’s have a 58.3% market share of the marinades market
Brands: Pizza Express, Nando’s, Wagamama, Wahaca, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Master Chef
The Year-on-year growth of Nando’s 40g crisps across the convenience sector 535%
Where would you like to be with wholesale in a few years’ time?
I previously worked for Kellogg’s and 25% of our business was outside the multiples. If we could get at least 15% of our business going through wholesale over the next two years, I’d be happy.
How useful has it been to engage with the channel before launching new products?
It’s really important. Through discussions with wholesalers and retailers, we’ve decided three key goals: to show more value in the market, offer enhanced margin on price-marked packs and offer a price-point comparable to the multiples’.
How are you helping wholesalers to capitalise on summer sales?
We launched more price-marks on our Nando’s sauces and Pizza Express dressing to help retailers to compete with multiples – the prices are the same as Tesco’s. We’ve also worked with wholesalers to improve our shelf-ready packaging – we’re going for a full colour offering that will help it to stand out in the cash & carry depot.
What’s been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
We’ve built a successful business that’s seen double-digit growth for the past 15 years. It’s now worth £20m. But we’ve never been in the wholesale channel – it’s definitely a learning curve for us. But we are engaging a lot with our wholesale partners to ask them what they need.
Your role covers the multiples as well as the wholesale channel. How does wholesale compare?
What’s special about wholesale is that you can get instant feedback from retailers on what works and what doesn’t work, which a supplier can use to refine its consumer proposition to something that sells well for everybody. The biggest challenge working with the multiple retailers, on the other hand, is that they struggle to differentiate themselves. They are all following similar strategies.
Where can wholesalers improve?
If you look at the expansion of Booker – the way that it has gone into national accounts and foodservice – it’s grown through acquiring other players in the marketplace, and bringing it all together. It’s a really good example of what other wholesalers can do. Every wholesaler has the same opportunity.
Loyalty schemes for retailers, expansion into new areas and going online are also potential ways of driving sales.
Do you have any plans to go into foodservice?
We have a 1l peri peri sauce that is ideal for sandwich shops – they can cook with it or service it as an accompaniment – it’s great in a bacon roll. Foodservice is something to consider in future but we need to get retail right first.