Fresh food viewpoints

Three retailers and three members of the foodservice industry reveal the steps they take take to get the best out of fresh.

Retailer Viewpoints:

matherPaul Mather – Sherston Village Stores, Wiltshire

“We have a wide choice of chilled, which we divide into specific sections – fresh meat, milk and dairy, and food to go. We have 30 types of fruit and veg, and we are very particular about how we run that category. We have a member of staff whose sole job is to check sell-by dates and manage the fresh section. If something is out of date or past its best, we remove it or discount it. It helps with waste management but it’s also a smart strategy because it protects our reputation and stock.”

harjHarj Dhasee – Nisa, Mickleton, Gloucestershire

About four years ago, we extended fresh and chilled from 2.5m to 12m, and now it represents 45% of our sales. It took us six months to get a handle on it and we spend a lot of time getting it right. We source products from a local supplier and Nisa, so that we can offer shoppers a premium range and a value range: for example, during Wimbledon, we had strawberries on promotion at £5 per punnet for the locally sourced ones and £2.50 for Nisa’s. We sold more than 400 punnets in one weekend. In general, I see fresh as good advertising for the business. If customers see a colourful, impactful display of fresh when they come into the store then they’re going to want to come back.”

jay patelJay Patel – Jay’s Budgens, Brockley, London

“We get a fresh delivery from Budgens every day. I’ve seen a lot of retailers make the mistake of storing fresh produce outside but it needs to be chilled properly to stay fresh and look attractive. Fresh is very popular in my store – it brings in between £3,000 and £4,000 a week. Our strategy for dealing with waste is to discount the price when products get slightly past their best. For example, when bananas start to get black spots, we add them to our promotional trolley. We also promote heavily on fresh: for example, lemons and limes are 35-40p each and five for £1.”

Foodservice viewpoints:

Matthew Sankey – Sankey’s, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent

“We source locally for fresh. Our guy will go to the ends of the Earth to deliver something to us if he’s given us his word. Our chef talks to him every day to see what’s in the markets and take advice on the best products. We need fresh produce that will sell but we also want good quality. Consistency is incredibly important – we need good products and prompt delivery. We hate it when people let us down.”

Rekha Cumberidge – Midlands Catering, Sutton Coldfield

“We get our meat from a local farm shop, along with eggs and some groceries, but we also use wholesalers for fresh produce. Costco has a good selection of fresh food but the drawback is that it doesn’t open until 9am or 10am, and we need our products earlier than that. They don’t deliver either, which is something we would like to see.”

Nicola Oldroyd – The Star Inn, Harome, North Yorkshire

“We grow our own herbs and edible flowers to make an impact. The idea was to have a Victorian kitchen garden but we can’t grow enough vegetables so herbs work well. We’re based near the Yorkshire moors so we have a lot of game on our menu. We get our meat and dairy from local suppliers, and we use Wellocks for fresh produce when we can’t grow or source directly.”

Read this month’s cover story and subscribe to Better Wholesaling to get more tips and advice for growing your sales.

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Lindsay Sharman is a former editor of Retail Newsagent, news editor of Retail Express and account manager in public relations for leading food and drink brands. Lindsay loves anything to do with the arts, including mid-century antiques, and cycles everywhere, even in winter


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