More than a third of foodservice operators using alternatives to wholesalers

More than a third of foodservice operators that use delivered wholesale as their main route to market are turning to supermarkets, discounter or online retailers, such as Amazon, to buy products for their outlets rather than through their preferred wholesaler, according to HIM’s UK Wholesale Market Report 2019.

The research shows that 38% of operators that use delivered wholesale as their main route to market also visit supermarkets or a discounter to restock, with 20% use online retailers, such as Amazon.

This number is just 3% when looking at grocery retailers who stock up using supermarkets or discounters and 8% who use online retailers, such as Amazon.

Grocery retailers are also much more likely to order online through their delivered wholesale, with 96% using this method rather than phone compared to 53% of foodservice operators. The biggest frustration preventing foodservice operators from using online is ease of use, with 55% of those that order by phone stating that wholesaler websites are not easy enough to use.

Blonnie Walsh, senior insights manager at HIM, said: “Foodservice operators account for 74% of all delivered wholesale customers, highlighting the size of the missed opportunity from operators visiting other routes to market. There will, of course, be an element of distress top-up, however, how much are wholesalers missing out on by not having a website that is easy to navigate for foodservice operators?”

“Reliability and ease of ordering are the most critical factors for wholesalers to get right and are two of the potential reasons why foodservice operators are turning to other channels to satisfy their needs. However, there are many other factors where importance outweighs satisfaction, so wholesalers cannot afford to take their eye away from these too,” she added.

Research shows customers spending more at cash and carries

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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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