Booker is among a growing list of wholesalers providing independent retailers with an opportunity to attract a new customer base through the expansion of specialist Asian products.
This month, the wholesaler partnered with Tanpopo to make more than 50 food-to-go lines available to Londis and Budgens stores, stating: “Japanese food is one of the fastest-growing areas in food to go.” Available products include sushi, chicken katsu and gyoza.
Meanwhile, wholesaler Hokkaido Marche HK is a new entrant soft launching in Guildford, Surrey, next month, making 500 products available to retailers online. The initial range will include cooking sauces, noodles and specialist alcohol. In the future, the company plans to expand into soft drinks and other cooking products.
The company was founded by managing director Amy Kwok in Hong Kong, and it also has a presence in Singapore.
Read more: Wing Yip adds bubble tea shop to depot
Kwok previously managed an import and wholesale business in Hong Kong.
She told our sister title RN the products can help retailers attract customers who don’t live nearby specialty stores. Kwok added: “We’ve just completed our website, ready to be launched.
“We will initially work with importers specialising in Japanese foods and will be making these products available to UK retailers. I can see there are a lot of chain stores and chain restaurants selling Asian food in the UK, but we want to sell those products in local stores.
“We’re targeting people who want to use products that they recognise from home.”
The soft launch in June will be used to trial delivery terms, services and prices.
Hokkaido Marche HK plans to then expand into a national market.
In the long term, Kwok plans to set up the physical infrastructure to manufacture, import and distribute her goods independently.
Similarly, South Korean company H Mart, which operates the Oseyo convenience chain across England, has also highlighted plans to expand its wholesale business over the next year.
In its latest financial statement, the company said: “We plan to increase our variety of products to increase our customer base. We plan to increase our radius of delivery for clients in the north [of England] for our wholesale [business].”
Similarly to Hokkaido Marche HK, H Mart’s goods include instant noodles, soft drinks, alcohol, sauces, fresh meat, produce and vegetarian lines.
These developments could help fill a gap left by Asian cash and carry company Wing Yip.
It recently scrapped its online wholesale business following a number of development issues since 2021.
Commenting on the closure, Wing Yip director Ennevor Yap said: “The decision to close our online store was not taken lightly and this strategic move has allowed us to fully concentrate our efforts on our four superstores.
“We want to focus on driving momentum in store, as we continue to provide top-quality, authentic ingredients to customers.”