With 2020 now out of the way and a clear light at the end of the coronavirus tunnel, industry figures from the wholesale industry make their predictions for the year ahead:
Tom Mathew, director, Dunsters: If I could predict 2021, I wouldn’t be running a foodservice! I think the only thing we can predict is further change, disruption and upheaval on a national and global level. COVID-19 and Brexit will have huge and far-reaching consequences. Our focus at Dunsters is ensuring that we can react to the inevitable change in as positive a way as possible, providing a secure future for our team and continually improving our offering and service for our customers to help them best navigate the challenging times ahead.
Mike Morgan, managing director, Savona Foodservice: With cases on the rise again, we remain in very unpredictable times. That said, our full field sales team have been back in strength for some weeks now, which means we’re able to ‘be there’ for customers, both current and prospective. Customers have responded will to our approach and we anticipate further growth into next year. Following industry studies, we expect consumers to follow their current pattern for some time yet, meaning we’ll continue to see limited menus from operators. We anticipate the importance of hygiene measurements to remain a key factor, boosted with a number of emerging trends following spikes during and since lockdown, for which we will offer supporting products: Comforting classics, luxury, sustainable, healthy options. With a customer-centric approach and advanced plans to extend our digital offering yet more, we’re confident we’ll be able to give customers the quality, forward-thinking service they rightly expect.
Justin Slawson, chairman, Mevalco: We expect to see fluctuations in volume, and continued uncertainty in demand across our Foodservice clients as they cope with restrictions and spot lockdowns across the UK. And with Brexit around the corner – none of us know whether tariffs and duties will be introduced across import and export which will put much unwanted pressure on the industry as a whole – and clearly as an importer of Spanish goods, Brexit is something we are keeping very close to. However, the industry will continue to see innovation and inspirational ingredients and new products from Mevalco as we work closely with clients across areas such as forecasting and forward planning to avoid stock shorting on products when needed, as well as increasing our B2C foothold for super-premium Spanish ingredients in the home.
Tim Adams, director of corporate sales and marketing, Bidfood: It would be foolish to say that things will just go back to normal. There are certainly bumpy times ahead and the more prepared we can be, and in turn the more prepared our customers can be, the better equipped we will be going forwards. We have always prided ourselves on being forward thinking and have been busy gathering insight and developing our trends for 2021 to best support our customer base as we continue to navigate big changes to our industry, including Brexit and Covid-19.
If there is a positive, it is that this pandemic has given us further opportunity to think creatively, be brave and not lose sight of our foodie credentials, whilst continuing to pave the way in our sector. We’re hopeful that things will slowly improve and we will continue to work with our customers, our suppliers and our people to deliver service excellence, make lives easier and help them to grow.
Hugo Mahoney, chief executive, Brakes: I’d love to say that 2021 will be a year of resurgence for the sector, but there remain many unknowns, including the Brexit outcome. Despite this, at Brakes, we are well prepared and ready to help our customers through the transition. I hope we’ll see the Government organise future schemes like the excellent ‘Eat Out to Help Out’, to further support our customers. This would help kick-start the industry and restore consumer confidence in eating out. Brakes will be ready again with the right combination of range availability, pricing, support packages and safety protocols to serve our customers and get them back on their feet.