Paul Hill discusses wholesale with Jon R White, the regional business manger at Fisherman’s Friend
How has Fisherman’s Friend helped wholesalers to grow sales in the past 12 months?
We have invested heavily in advertising over the past few years to grow both the brand and the medicated confectionery category as a whole.
Over the past four years we had huge success with our national TV campaign starring world-renowned tenor Alfie Boe, and in 2019/2020 we are launching an exciting new TV sponsorship campaign that will run for two years.
What is the greatest challenge facing wholesale?
Consolidation in the sector obviously continues to make wholesale a hugely competitive area. And with the growth of Amazon and ecommerce in general, there is a challenge
for retailers to keep the physical store environment relevant for shoppers by inspiring and capturing impulse purchases, with new flavours and products.
What trends and opportunities are emerging that customers can take advantage of?
Fisherman’s Friend is increasingly becoming a year-round proposition, as consumers look to the lozenges to help relieve symptoms of hay fever as well as cold and flu. This offers an opportunity for wholesalers to capitalise on demand throughout the year, not just during the winter months. Furthermore, we offer a wide range of sugar-free variants, including our new-to-wholesale Sugar Free Spearmint.
What challenges has Fisherman’s Friend had to overcome in the past year?
We have seen low cough, cold and flu incidence rates compared with previous years, which has been a challenge. However, strong brand loyalty and consumer awareness has meant Fisherman’s Friend has performed well compared with other brands, and has actually seen growth within the wholesale category.
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What is Fisherman’s Friend’s greatest achievement in the past year?
Our greatest achievement has been to continue to grow sales in a shrinking medicinal confectionery market in the UK. Convenience and wholesale contributed 45% of all sales in the first half of the year, the largest contribution of any sector, and with sales within wholesale up 2%1 on the year, we are thrilled that we have bucked the trend by remaining relevant to a wide audience.
What would you like to see happen in wholesale in the next 12 months?
This is a really exciting time to be working in the wholesale channel, with fantastic opportunity for growth. Fisherman’s Friend would like to see continued growth and expansion of distribution to forecourts and other convenience outlets.
Are you planning any activity wholesalers should be aware of?
During the 2019/2020 cold and flu season, Fisherman’s Friend will once again be investing heavily in marketing. This will include our return to TV screens, sponsoring Channel 5’s Everyday Hero series of programming in a partnership worth more than £1.5m and offering 30 million opportunities to see the brand over this autumn and winter.
What advice would you give wholesalers looking to grow sales in the lozenge category?
Fisherman’s Friend has extremely high consumer loyalty within the UK, due to the brand’s heritage and the cult-like following of the UK’s bestselling flavour, Original Extra Strong.
Stocking this alongside a selection of our fruity and mint flavours will ensure a good range of lozenges.