Three wins each for three wholesalers at SWA awards

Bidfood Scotland, JW Filshill and United Wholesale (Scotland) each picked up three awards at the annual Scottish Wholesale Achievers, with CJ Lang & Son claiming two and Booker and JB Foods also winning one.

United Wholesale (Scotland)’s depot at Queenslie in the east end of Glasgow was named Best Cash & Carry, with judges pointed out that the facility’s rebirth as a high-tech, innovative and interactive “warehouse of the future” was a higher standard than any other depot.

Booker triumphed in the inaugural Green Wholesaler of the Year category. Zero Waste Scotland’s communications and PR manager, Claire Munro, praised the wholesaler’s long-term commitment to sustainability. “No stone was left unturned by the team at all levels to cut carbon emissions, reduce energy use, waste prevention and minimisation, boosting recycling, and stocking a range of environmentally-friendly products.”

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Meanwhile, the SWA’s first Rising Star of Wholesale award went to Jason Butler, operations support manager at United Wholesale (Scotland). Judges Moira Stalker, skills manager at the Food and Drink Federation Scotland and Alison Nimmo, programme manager at Developing the Young Workforce at Lanarkshire and East Dunbartonshire, interviewed entrants and pointed to Jason’s “passionate account” of his achievements at UWS, including his humble approach and his pride in his company and his colleagues.

Colin Smith, SWA chief executive, said: “Our industry continues to experience unprecedented change and I applaud our wholesalers and suppliers who continue to find new and innovative ways to grow their businesses and develop their staff, create new revenue streams and provide the best possible customer service.”

“As your trade association, we are working on your behalf to achieve the best possible outcome for industry across a raft of legislative issues. We are also working to create our very own SWA Wholesale Sustainability Charter and, of course, we have launched our new SWA Training Academy.

“Developing a skilled workforce and working with members to invest in the future sustainability of the wholesale industry is top of the agenda for us in our 80th anniversary year,” he added.

Smith recently welcomed a report from the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee which recognises that wholesalers should be part of a DRS scheme administration board.

He presented to a committee and demanded that the wholesale channel be represented on the board, which currently includes only retailers, manufacturers and producers.

This has now been reflected in the report, with the ECCLR recognising that the scheme is “cost neutral” for wholesalers despite the original proposals envisaging the scheme being cost neutral for retailers only.

Titled ‘The Report on the proposed draft Deposit and Return Scheme for Scotland Regulations 2020’, it made a number of concessions to the wholesale channel, with Smith saying that it makes for exceptionally positive reading for the channel and vindicates the work that SWA has done to represent its members.

“The recommendation that the scheme be cost neutral for wholesalers, as well as retailers, is hugely important for our sector,” he said. “As is the recommendation that wholesalers, along with other industry representatives and trade bodies, should be represented within the scheme administrator and play an active role in its governance.”

The full list of winners were:
Best Cash & Carry – United Wholesale (Scotland), Queenslie
Best Symbol Group – Spar, CJ Lang & Son
Best Delivered Operation (Retail) – CJ Lang & Son and JW Filshill
Best Delivered Operation (Foodservice) –Bidfood Scotland and JB Foods
Great Place to Work –Bidfood Scotland
Best Licensed Operation – JW Filshill
Employee of the Year –Lorraine MacPherson, symbol development manager, United Wholesale (Scotland)
Best Marketing Initiative – Bidfood Scotland and JW Filshill
Best Advertising Campaign- Irn-Bru
Best Overall Service by Suppliers- AG Barr
Best Foodservice Supplier- Unilever Food Solutions
Supplier Sales Executive of the Year- Steven McGarry, regional business development manager for Scotland
Rising Star of Wholesale,- Jason Butler, operations support manager, United Wholesale (Scotland)
Green Wholesaler of the Year- Booker

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Paul Hill
Paul Hill is the Editor of Better Wholesaling. Paul can be found on Twitter on @BW_PaulHill, or can be contacted via paul.hill@newtrade.co.uk and 020 7689 3376.

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