Buying Groups Profile: Unitas

John Kinney is the managing director of Unitas

BWI: What has been your most significant achievement over the past 12 months?
JK: As part of our ongoing internal strategy to become a more mem­ber-centric organisation, we have de­veloped a member satisfaction survey to capture, monitor and act upon the feedback of our membership as to how well the central office team supports their businesses.

The field work for the survey, which is carried out by an independent research and insight company, was completed at the beginning of August.

We had initial results at the end of August, which we are acting upon to improve our performance as a buying group where necessary. The survey will be carried out four times a year to ensure a culture of continual im­provement.

Work is also in progress to develop a web-based HFSS tool to support our wholesale membership and their retail­ers as the new legislation goes live in October. We also continue to develop and evolve our Digital Excellence Academy (DEA) which is a key strand of the digital agenda.

By partnering with experienced operators within the wholesale sector, which offer expertise in their cho­sen areas, we are able to support our members with market-leading insight and valuable tools to drive their future digital strategy.

Through the DEA, Unitas has launched a variety of educational webi­nars, podcasts and short films to advise and support members with a number of digital initiatives

How have you expanded and attract­ed new members over the past year?
Our membership continues to grow with the acquisition of eight new members during the past 12 months including Y International, Albion Fine Foods, Drink Warehouse, CPD Direct and All Drinks Cash and Carry.

As the largest buying group in the UK, we are able to support our mem­bers with the strongest possible trading terms, together with an excellent pro­motional programme that is attractive to our members, their customers and the end-consumer.

Read more: Unitas makes two key appointments

In addition, Unitas provides a pack­age of services and activity including marketing initiatives, Plan for Profit core range guidance, as well as a series of annual events, which enables productive networking between our member wholesalers and supplier part­ners supporting collaborative business relationships.

What are your plans to help mem­bers over the next 12 months?
We will continue to focus on sup­porting our members and developing more member-centric organisation in what are likely to become even more challenging conditions. We will be working with our supplier partners to negotiate the best terms on behalf of our members, while developing our relationships.

Work is already in progress to clearly define a clear direction of our foodser­vice, on-trade and own-brand business­es to ensure we are creating a strong and sustainable strategy for Unitas and our membership.

What are the biggest challenges for your members over the next 12 months?
Following the pandemic, how we respond to its legacy in terms of the challenges in its wake will impact our members most, such as the cost-of-liv­ing crisis and continued price increas­es, energy and fuel costs, continued staff shortages in the OOH channel, driver shortages, supply chain and availability issues, MOQ constraints and the pressure on margin throughout the supply chain.


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Paul Hill is the Editor of Better Wholesaling. He can be found on Twitter at @BW_PaulHill, or contacted via and 07960935659.


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