Paul Hill chats with brand-new foodservice wholesale customer Tamara Gray of vegan takeaway Tam’s Kitchen in Paignton
Where do you source your ingredients and products from?
I get most of my ingredients from Booker or local supermarkets. I am a new business and haven’t established connections with local suppliers yet. I occasionally buy niche products online that I can’t seem to source and I teamed up with Bays, a local brewery, to use their Gold ale in one of my pie dishes.
Do you get your orders delivered or by visiting a depot?
I usually spend one day a week visiting multiple wholesalers and suppliers to collect ingredients for the week. I have started ordering packaging online as it seems to be cheaper and fits my needs of being compostable/environmentally friendly.
Over the next couple of months, I want to switch to working with suppliers and receiving deliveries from wholesalers, as that will be much more time-effective for me.
How can suppliers improve the online ordering experience?
I haven’t yet used an online ordering system with my business, but have done in previous employment at a restaurant. I find it easiest when products are listed in simplest form – name, weight, size and so on – as opposed to product codes. I do prefer ordering over the telephone rather than online – it’s more authentic being able to speak to someone.
Plus it’s a good opportunity to discuss offers, products and delivery options, or even menu ideas, which I’ve heard certain foodservice wholesalers do.
How can wholesalers improve the cash & carry experience?
I only have experience visiting Booker locally and have found them to be very helpful. Covid-19 health and safety measures are in place and very visible. Booker isn’t always the cheapest, but you can always rely on them to have products in stock.
Do wholesalers need to be paying more attention to plant-based foods in their ranges?
I believe there is always more room in the market for plant-based products, but it has massively improved over the past couple of years. Supermarkets have a much wider range of vegan and plant-based products available compared with wholesalers, but you can’t always rely on them having enough stock.
What food trends do you predict will grow this year?
Plant-based and vegan food markets will continue their growth over the next few years as eating habits become more sustainable, healthy and less meat-based. More specifically linked to the current Covid-19 climate, there will be a switch to people eating in open spaces and outside, with street food vans being a popular choice.
People will also choose to dine at home more, ordering takeaways rather than dining in confined spaces. Woodfired sourdough pizza is also becoming more popular, with people wanting a tasty dough, thin crispy base and simple toppings. I hope the pandemic has taught people to shop locally, sourcing from local farmers, using local breweries and dining in independent restaurants. Hopefully wholesalers can help to make this more of a reality.