Landmark expands successful Sunspring water range

For customers looking for a refreshing way to quench their thirst, Landmark Wholesale is launching two new flavours to bolster its popular Sunspring water range.

After Landmark Wholesale launched Sunspring earlier this year, the buying group is celebrating selling in excess of one million bottles, and it is adding two new flavours to the range in August: Lemon and Lime and Kiwi and Strawberry. Both will be available in 500ml sports cap bottles with an RRP of 45p.

“With the crackdown on sugar at the forefront of many customers’ minds, flavoured water is becoming an increasingly popular alternative,” said Anna Roddis, Trading Controller at Landmark Wholesale. “These new flavours are a testimony to how successfully classic Sunspring water has performed so far. We’re delighted to have just hit our millionth bottle sold, and I know the new flavours will be a hit with retailers and their customers, especially as they represent such great value.”

Rose Rickett, Store Manager at the Lifestyle Express store in Walsall, noticed an increase in sales of her flavoured water following the Sugar Industry Drinks Levy: “Our water range is constantly growing and I’m always looking for exciting new additions to add to it,” she said. “We started stocking flavoured water in preparation for the sugar tax, and sales have increased dramatically, especially for parents buying soft drinks for their children. Bottles with sports caps are hugely popular as it makes it easier than traditional lids for customers drinking while on the move. I would definitely advise retailers to stay on top of trends and stock a good range of waters to be sure you have what your customers are looking for.”

Proposed merger of Landmark and Today’s

Landmark Wholesale and Today’s Group are delighted to announce that their Boards have unanimously agreed to take a proposal to merge both groups to a wider voting process for approval by their members.

The objective of the proposed merger is to create a larger, more effective and efficient group, dedicated to supporting independent wholesalers, who in turn support thousands of independent retailers and small businesses.

The new company will be Unitas Wholesale Ltd, a name chosen to signify the principle and desire to work together, focused on common goals and identifying ways whereby all parties can win. And, through enhanced scale, relevance and capability, Unitas will be the sustainable wholesale business partner for its supplier base, creating an alternative route to market in the face of the consolidation happening within the wholesale sector.

“We believe that this consolidation is narrowing the options for suppliers and potentially threatening the future of independent businesses as multiple chains expand into the wholesale channel,” said Darren Goldney, Managing Director of Today’s Group. “This merger acts to ensure the sustainable and future success of our members, many of whom have a multi-generation legacy of service to independent businesses, be they convenience stores, catering outlets or many of the other businesses we serve.”

John Mills, Managing Director of Landmark Wholesale added: “As member-owned organisations and in line with the principles of ‘every business matters, no matter how big or small’, the two groups will decide whether to progress with the proposed merger via a full membership vote process by 6 September 2018.

“Following this date, we will enter into a period of consultation and selection with the management and staff of both groups to create the structure to support Unitas Wholesale. We would expect the transaction to formally complete by November 2018.”

Current 2018 joint business agreements between the two groups and suppliers will remain in place until the end of the calendar year. Unitas’ new trading team will commence discussions with suppliers regarding 2019 terms (joint business plans, for example) from November, with operational alignment occurring throughout 2019 via a process of integration.

In the meantime, it will be business as usual for both groups and there will be no further detail until the members’ vote closes on 6 September. “Our focus now is to maintain the excellent job we already do for our members and their independent customers and, importantly, continue our positive relationships and momentum with our supplier partners,” said Mills.

Goldney concluded: “This is a tremendous opportunity which will step change the platform upon which independent business and their supplier partners can thrive. Unitas will create a new and exciting opportunity for suppliers, independent wholesalers and the thousands of independent businesses that we collectively serve.

“At this stage our focus will be on communicating the merger proposal to our members so we respectfully ask that any questions are directed to Stephenie Shaw at The Bright Media Agency (0116 296 0133 or stephenie@thebrightmediaagency.com) and not to Landmark or Today’s Group directly. Once we know the outcome of the members vote, we will communicate in detail.”

Lifestyle Express pulls out the stops to support its retailers

Lifestyle Express is celebrating the first birthday of its Lifestyle Learning Academy online training platform with the addition of three new modules to further support retailers.

With one in five symbol group retailers admitting that they don’t carry out induction training for their new staff and one in three saying that training poses a challenge for their business, Lifestyle Express partnered with Bolt Learning last year to support its retailers with invaluable training resources.

Since its launch, more than 800 individual training modules have been issued and more than 200 trainees are currently engaged with modules.

To celebrate its first year, Lifestyle Express has launched three new training modules alongside the original modules which covered age-related sales, basic health and safety, wine selling, customer service and the importance of Core Range.

The latest modules, now live on the Academy, include:

1. Active Selling

This module covers the importance of upselling, which products to upsell and how to do it to help to raise staff’s confidence in doing so.

2. Food Safety Level 1

This module covers the basics of hygiene when working with food. It helps retailers and staff identify risks and put procedures in place to minimise those risks and understand their responsibilities.

3. Food Safety Level 2

This module builds on the basics of Level 1 but will further enable users to hygienically store, prepare, cook and work with food. This module is particularly suitable for retailers and staff in stores that either have food to go counters or are considering adding one in the future.

Retailers can also use the learning platform to allocate and track staff training and progress using an online filing cabinet to record which training sections have been completed and prove compliance.

“The first year of Lifestyle Learning Academy has been a huge success,” said Stuart Johnson, Retail Controller. “We always promised that further modules would be added further on down the line, and we’re delighted to fulfil that promise with the launch of these new components.

“People are the greatest assets that our stores have. The Lifestyle Learning Academy allows all of our retailers and their staff to access a range of essential training modules which will enable them to help maintain compliance and grow sales. We know that retailers struggle to find the time to train their staff and online training tackles all those issues. The bite-sized modules fun to complete and will enable retailers to serve the needs of our customers even better.

“We’ve had great feedback from our retailers who have embraced the training platforms over the past year and have already seen a huge increase in their staff’s confidence as a result.”

“Lifestyle Express have been the first symbol group to embark on digital training, proving that they really are ahead of the times when it comes to supporting their retailers,” said Sandy MacEwen from Bolt Learning. “This market has become tougher and tougher over the last twelve months, and all retailers will surely know the importance of providing top-notch customer service when it comes to standing out against your competitors.

“It’s fantastic to see that Lifestyle Express retailers recognise the importance of training their retailers when it comes to staying ahead of the game. I’m very confident that retailers will be very pleased with the latest modules to be added.”

Landmark celebrates fantastic results at HIM Wholesale 2018 awards

Landmark Wholesale members took home three of the top awards at the HIM Wholesale awards 2018.

The HIM Wholesale 2018 awards were announced at the FWD’s Future of Wholesale conference on Thursday 28 June, and Landmark members were celebrating as they scooped top honours in three categories.

East End Foods won two awards, both voted for by independent retailers and foodservice operators: Favourite Wholesaler for Category Advice and The Independent Retailers’ Favourite Cash and Carry Wholesaler.

Another member, Blakemore Foodservice, won The Independent Foodservice Operators’ Favourite Delivered Wholesaler.

Congratulations to both East End Foods and Blakemore Foodservice.

Country Fare welcomes chefs to latest foodie event

Country Fare has welcomed chefs to the latest of its popular series of events known as ‘Chef Days Out’ The Bournemouth-based foodservice company held another of its Chef Days Out exclusive events on 12 June, this time focusing on strawberries.

Hosted at the New Forest Fruit Company in the heart of the New Forest, more than 60 guests were given a guided tour where they gained insightful industry knowledge, were taught the importance of local produce and treated to personalised tasting sessions. Guests represented a number of different businesses including nursing homes, restaurants, cafes, as well as catering academies and local pubs.

“The event was a huge success and we’ve received great feedback from all who attended,” said Tim Wyatt, Marketing Manager, Country Fare. “At Country Fare, we are always looking for new ways to partner with our suppliers and our ‘Chef Days Out’ grew from our passion for food and the desire to provide customers with knowledge about local produce and showcase innovation within the foodservice sector.

“As a fresh-thinking foodservice company, our aim is to be fully committed in supporting other local businesses and strengthening the local economy. These events provide an opportunity for chefs and business owners to meet local producers, network with suppliers and other people in the industry while gaining knowledge which will help their business grow.”

And their guests agreed. Aimee Graham from White Pepper Chef Academy commented: “What a great day! I’d like to say a huge thank you to all at Country Fare for organising such an interesting trip. Inspirational, educational and fun – it was exciting to share a space with great local businesses and have the chance to engage with each other as well as meeting more of the Country Fare team.”

Jackie Barr from New Forest Fruit Company added: “It was great to welcome so many guests and see such an interest in what it takes to get a strawberry into a punnet and it is very much appreciated.”

Les Mohammed, Foodservice Trading Controller at Landmark Wholesale, commented: “I’m delighted by the success of Country Fare’s latest event. It’s fantastic to see our members provide excellent customer service by extending industry knowledge and contacts to help other people develop their knowledge and businesses.”

With the widest range of local produce for the catering industry, Country Fare supplies everything from fresh fruit and vegetables to dairy, artisan cheeses, a fine food selection, as well as an ever-expanding larder of dry and frozen goods. For more information about Country Fare, please visit www.countryfare.co.uk

Bellarini: the perfect sparkling summer drink from Landmark Wholesale

For customers looking for a refreshing treat this summer, Landmark Wholesale is encouraging retailers to stock up on Bellarini, a lightly sparkling perry.

Simon King, Trading Controller at Landmark Wholesale, said: “Bellarini is highly popular with shoppers thanks to its light, invigorating taste. Made from pears, it’s perfect for wine lovers looking for a slightly different taste this summer. It’s great value and has a great taste, plus the bottle features an eye-catching design that retail customers love.

“Sparkling wine is experiencing a huge growth in popularity, and retailers will enjoy great sales success with this refreshing treat. Ideal for impulse summer occasions such as barbecues and picnics, retailers are bound to see these bottles fly off the shelves this summer.”

Bellarini is available exclusively from Landmark Wholesale depots, with an RRP of £2.59 per 1.5 litre bottle and £1.45 per 70cl bottle.

For more details contact your local Landmark Wholesale member depot, or find your nearest depot here.

United Wholesale Grocers acquires Blakemore’s Gateshead depot

It was announced at the Landmark Wholesale 2018 annual conference that United Wholesale Grocers has completed its purchase of Blakemore’s Gateshead depot.

The deal, which will retain all 45 existing members of staff, will see the depot move to new ownership this month.

United Wholesale Grocers Managing Director Amaan Ramzan (pictured left in above photo, alongside Trading Director Waqas Badar) said, “At a time of consolidation and change in the sector, we have recognised the need to invest both in our business and the wholesale sector as a whole. We, like other Landmark members, are firmly focused on identifying opportunities for growth and this deal signifies a clear step forward in our plans for expansion. We have some incredibly exciting plans for the Gateshead depot which we will share in due course, and we look forward to taking over in June.”

John Mills, Landmark Wholesale Managing Director said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Gateshead depot and all members of staff will remain within the Landmark family. We hope that other Blakemore depots will also be bought as going concerns, preferably by Landmark members or others in the wholesale sector.”

Landmark triumphs at foodservice awards

Landmark’s Caterers Kitchen emerged triumphant at the inaugural CCM Chef’s Own Brand Awards yesterday (5 June) as five products took the top spot.

Landmark’s winning line up is as follows:

  • Sauces and condiments: Caterers Kitchen horseradish sauce
  • Pizza and pasta: Caterers Kitchen penne rigate
  • Fish and seafood: Caterers Kitchen breaded wholetail scampi
  • Canned vegetables: Caterers Kitchen reduced salt and sugar baked beans
  • Beers, wine and spirits: Santa Loretta Prosecco

“We couldn’t be more delighted with the results which reflects the quality and value offered by our Caterers Kitchen own brand,” said John Mills, Landmark Wholesale Managing Director. “We pride ourselves on producing fantastic products for our members and their customers that not only boost their bottom line but also deliver great taste, every time.”

“We’re also thrilled that yet again, our Santa Loretta Prosecco won best in class. This adds to the countless accolades it has received since its launch, including best sparkling wine in the Quality Drink awards in 2015 and 2017.”

The awards were held by Cash and Carry Management, in partnership with the Craft Guild of Chefs. The judging panel for the awards consisted of Andrew Green, director of operations at the Craft Guild of Chefs – the leading chefs’ association in the UK; Jason Gordon, general manager of Compass Group’s General Medical Council contract; and Matt Owens, pastry chef at The Grove, a five-star hotel in Watford. Between them, the judges have decades of experience of working as a top chef at some of the leading establishments in the UK.

Commenting on the standard, Andrew Green said: “I have been involved in judging numerous awards but this is the first time they have been solely focused on own-brand. Quite often you find that own-brand is as good as any leading brand but it is not recognised in the same way. These awards address that by highlighting the best wholesaler own-brands in the market place.”

Landmark Wholesale explores ‘new horizons’

The Landmark Wholesale annual conference 2018 drew to a close after a fantastic few days in Alicante, where delegates were encouraged to explore ‘new horizons’ in the current landscape of consolidation, change and uncertainty.

Regarded as a highlight in the industry calendar, the Landmark Wholesale conference was attended by a mix of members and new and existing suppliers. The business sessions kicked off with John Mills, Landmark Wholesale Managing Director, taking the opportunity to highlight the challenges facing the sector and the emerging consumer trends that Landmark and its members need to be focusing on, working closely with suppliers.

Delegates heard from Landmark members, such as Jason Barnard and Guy Swindell from Parfetts, who outlined the expansion of Gold (Go Local Direct) which has seen Parfetts’ Sheffield site turn into a 24-hour business: cash and carry during the day, picking and delivery operation by night.

Delegates were challenged by Elit Rowland, founder of Women in Wholesale, to think about how they attract and retain first-class talent in the wholesale sector. Peppi Cremona of Accolade Wines and Robin Martin from Coca Cola European Partners also took to the stage, encouraging delegates to seek out new horizons either personally or for their businesses.

Alongside the traditional conference presentations from Landmark staff and key suppliers, was a panel session, chaired by James Lowman, CEO of ACS. This comprised James Bielby, Chief Executive, FWD; Jill Livesey, MD him; Matt Goddard, Wholesale Trading Director, PepsiCo International, UK and Ireland; and Marcus Singh, Director, Hyperama. The panel answered questions on a variety of issues such as pricemarked pack shared margins, use of data, social media and the clear need for improved collaborative working.

For the first time, a Lifestyle Express retailer addressed the conference. Raj Kaur, who runs a Lifestyle Express store in Kilbirnie, Ayrshire, shared the challenges and successes of running a full neighbourhood store in close proximity to plenty of local competition.

Guest speakers this year were Levi Roots, creator of Reggae Reggae Sauce, who shared his story from the Notting Hill Carnival via Dragons Den to running a £60m business. And finally, presenter of the This Week and Daily Politics shows, Andrew Neil provided a thought-provoking analysis of the UK’s political and economic landscape, rounding off another successful Landmark conference.

Landmark Foodservice spices up its offering and delivers a tasty saving for caterers

For caterers wanting to spice things up in the kitchen, Landmark Foodservice’s growing range of herbs and spices is selling better than ever following a successful relaunch which directly benefits caterers’ bottom lines.
Landmark Foodservice’s award-winning own brand, Caterers Kitchen, has relaunched its popular range of herbs and spices with more efficient, industry-sized packaging.
Les Mohammed, Foodservice Trading Controller at Landmark Wholesale, commented, “This relaunch allows us to keep prices low for our members as our new industry-sized packaging creates commercial savings. We’re always looking for ways to keep costs down and make our processes as efficient as possible, and the new formats do exactly that. The same quality product that our members are accustomed to still remains exactly the same, and we are confident the new packaging will be very well received.”
Currently boasting 49 products, the ever-growing range comprises all of the firm favourites including basil, bay leaves, bicarbonate of soda, cayenne pepper, chilli powder, chives, cinnamon sticks, garlic powder, paprika, parsley, rosemary, sage, whole black pepper and many more.

Landmark Wholesale unveils hero products

To ensure it continues to offer members the very best products at the very best prices, Landmark Wholesale has identified six of its best-selling own brand products and is highlighting their great value in depot by increasing displays. Members are also provided with dedicated POS to grab attention in depot and drive up sales.
The six hero brands comprise:
  • Bellarini sparkling perry
  • LSV Energy Original
  • LSV Isotonic Orange
  • Lifestyle granulated sugar
  • White Storm 2L
  • Prince Consort Vodka
“We are delighted to reveal six of our own-brand hero products which have been chosen with our members in mind,” said Jon Burton, Senior Trading Controller at Landmark Wholesale. “These hero products have been selected for their exceptional value in the marketplace for retailers and their proven track record when it comes to sales. They offer a fantastic sales opportunity and are guaranteed to grab the attention of retailers and their customers.”

Landmark Foodservice expands Caterers Kitchen rice range

Always on the lookout for ways to improve its offering and support for its members, Landmark has expanded its Caterers Kitchen range with five new rice products after identifying gaps in its current offer.
The new products added to the range include:
  • Caterers Kitchen Arborio Rice, 1 x 5kg
  • Caterers Kitchen Basmati Easy Cook Rice, 1 x 5kg
  • Caterers Kitchen Basmati Original Rice, 1 x 5kg
  • Caterers Kitchen Long Grain Easy Cook Rice, 1 x 5kg
  • Caterers Kitchen Long Grain Patna Rice, 1 x 5kg
Les Mohammed, Foodservice Trading Controller at Landmark Wholesale, said, “We’re delighted to support our members with yet more essential high-quality products such as rice. Our sales show that rice continues to experience significant growth and by working with this supplier, we believe we’re providing a fantastic expansion of our offering to members.”