SWA wholesale growth programme to start in January

SWA wholesale workshop

The next phase of the Scottish Wholesale Association’s (SWA) ‘Delivering Growth through Wholesale’ programme will start in January and will feature workshops for wholesalers and producers as well a sector-first Meet the Buyer event. 

The SWA, in partnership with the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) and Scotland Food & Drink, will deliver the programme that launched earlier this year in an attempt to strengthen engagement between wholesalers and local producers. 

The Delivering Growth through Wholesale is an ambitious programme is designed to provide businesses with the tools and information they need to help them maximise opportunities within a wholesale industry with sales worth £2.9 billion.

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The wholesaler workshops take place on January 19 (9 am to 12.30 pm) and January 25 (1 pm to 4.30 pm) and will look at the benefits of sourcing products locally over two and a half days. 

Participants will receive tools and information on developing wholesale and/or local sourcing strategic business plans, in addition to guidance on developing a framework for engagement and one-to-one expert support. 

SWA chief executive, Colin Smith commented: “Our Local Food Logistics Strategy will accelerate the process and help us achieve our objective to distribute more local goods onto the shelves of Scotland’s 5,000 convenience stores and onto plates in 30,000 hospitality, tourism and leisure outlets.

“It’s all about helping our sector become resilient to challenges and getting us ready to capitalise on new opportunities while at the same time educating Scottish producers to the fact that wholesale is a massive opportunity and a dynamic route to market.

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“Our aim is also to create a more integrated logistics network where wholesalers can work together to offer products outwith their normal area of operation. This is already happening to a certain extent but we really want to develop this to the stage where, for example, a Highlands-based wholesaler could help its clients reach markets in the east or west Scotland through a wholesaler based in the central belt.”

Strategy and external relations director at Scotland Food & Drink, John Davidson, said: “As one of the key actions from Scotland Food & Drink Partnership’s Recovery Plan, this programme is essential in increasing the Scottish supply base across the wholesale sector.

“We hope the information and resources received through the workshops and the Meet the Buyer opportunity will help strengthen the relationship between producers and wholesalers, and bring more opportunities to work together in the future.”

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Fergus Younger of SAOS added: “I’ve been struck by the enthusiasm and desire to help suppliers better understand the wholesale sector. This programme will help deliver on Scotland’s aim to be a world leader in food tourism, and building stronger relationships between producers and wholesalers is key to ensuring high-quality Scottish regional and local products are experienced by locals and visitors alike.”          

The free workshops are available to all wholesalers and producers in Scotland and will take place virtually on Zoom. 

Due to the limited number of spaces, the SWA has stated that places on the workshop will be offered on a first come, first served basis. Wholesalers must apply here by December 3 at 5 pm, with successful registration confirmed within five working days.


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