Discussing the importance of the channel to Fisherman’s Friend

Jon R White, UK regional business manager, Fisherman’s Friend

How has Fisherman’s Friend helped wholesalers grow sales in the past 12 months?
We have invested heavily in advertising over the last few years to grow both the brand and the medicated confectionery category. This year is no exception, with a continuation of our successful ‘Whatever the Day Throws at You’ £1.5m TV sponsorship campaign which reached 64% of the UK adult population[1] last year.

What is the greatest challenge that the wholesale industry faces?
Consolidation in the sector makes wholesale a hugely competitive area. The continued growth of Amazon and e-commerce, particularly in recent months, presents a challenge for wholesale customers, who must keep the physical store environment relevant for shoppers.

What trends and opportunities are emerging that customers can take advantage of?
It is well-known that menthol and eucalyptus can help keep winter ailments at bay, but they are also useful to relieve symptoms of hay fever. As a result, Fisherman’s Friend is increasingly becoming a year-round proposition, offering an opportunity for wholesalers to capitalise on demand outside of winter. Stocking a variety of products in depot will ensure all consumer needs are catered for and help to maximise sales.

What challenges has Fisherman’s Friend had to overcome in the past year?
Covid-19 has fundamentally changed the way that we operate to protect the safety and wellbeing of our staff. However, strong brand loyalty and consumer awareness has meant Fisherman’s Friend has performed well compared with other brands and grown within the wholesale category.

What is Fisherman’s Friend up to in the wholesale channel?

What is Fisherman’s Friend’s greatest achievement in the past year?
Our greatest achievement has been to continue to grow sales in the UK medicinal confectionery market, with the convenience and wholesale channels contributing 29%[2] of all sales so far this year – the largest contribution of any single channel. We are thrilled that we have continued to stay relevant amongst both our loyal following and broad consumer base.

What would you like to see happen in wholesale in the next 12 months?
This is an exciting time to work in the wholesale channel, with fantastic opportunity for growth. By stocking the right range of products, our wholesale customers will be well placed to capitalise on a shifting consumer trend to shop locally. As a result, we’d like to see continued growth and expansion of distribution in forecourts and other convenience outlets.

Are you planning any activity of which wholesalers should be aware?
During the 2020/2021 cold and flu season, we will once again be investing heavily in a continuation of our two-year £1.5m campaign – ‘Whatever the Day Throws at You’ – featuring digital, social media and PR activity. This includes Fisherman’s Friend returning to TV screens nationwide to ensure our lozenges remain front of mind during the important winter sales period.

What advice would you give wholesalers looking to grow sales in the Fisherman’s Friend category?
In order to grow sales, it is important to stock brands that are recognised and trusted by customers. Fisherman’s Friend has extremely high consumer loyalty within the UK, due to the brand’s iconic heritage and the cult-like following of the UK’s best-selling flavour, Original Extra Strong. Stocking this variant alongside a selection of our fruity, mint and Sugar-Free flavours will ensure a good range of lozenges that appeal to different consumer needs.

[1] Broadcasters Audience Research Board, 2020
[2] Ceuta Healthcare, in-market total sales Jan-May 2020

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


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