Sales of own-label products are soaring. Tan Parsons speaks to Fairway Foodservice’s Steve Jeavons about the company’s 2015 SKUs.
How is Fairway Foodservice’s own-label business performing?
Fairway Foodservice has a very strong own-label range of products. We have a mature frozen offering, which has been established for 30 years, and in the past two years, we have invested significantly in our ambient produce. From an initial venture of just eight products in September 2012, we’ve built a range of more than 300 ambient products from numerous suppliers.
How important are own-label products to the company’s overall offering?
The response to our own-label products is absolutely fantastic and the products are now well established as a cornerstone of our overall offering. Fairway-label frozen sales alone were in excess of £16.5m in 2013, and we forecast that this will increase to more than £20m in the next 12 months. On ambient, we are anticipating sales of more than £8m for 2014, and we’re well on course to meet our sales target in sales for 2016.
The significant growth we’ve seen across all lines tells the story of our own-label success. We’ve had a year-on-year increase in ambient grocery sales and non-food sales of over 130%, while sales of chilled own-label products will achieve well over a tenfold increase year-on-year compared to 2012.
Why do you think own-label products have been so well received?
Our members – and more importantly their customers – have taken to our own-label ranges because they offer a way of producing high-quality, great tasting food at a competitive price. In fact, many members take an active role in helping us grow our own-label ranges, with promotional features, menu ideas and other initiatives.
I think another key benefit is that our own-brand products can help make it as painless as possible for our members to help their customers abide by the changes in the regulations on providing food information to consumers. All allergen and nutritional information on our own-label products is readily available through our Erudus One app, helping them meet the impending changes to legislation.
What plans are in place for continuing your own label’s growth?
The strategy going forward is to ensure our own-label brand offers quality products at the optimum commercial proposition for our members and their customers, whether through increased supply, improved deals, or extending our range. We’re looking to add to the range and introduce new categories that meet demand and current trends.
For example, we recently introduced a brioche burger bun to our Vive Le Pain bread range and plan on adding more sandwich carrier breads, to take advantage of the growth of the food-to-go and sandwich sector, which is already worth £4.5bn and expected to grow by a further 5% over the next five years.
In the long-term, our aim is to make Fairway Foodservice’s own-label offering the standard for the industry that other buying groups aspire towards.