Unitas Wholesale Trade Show 2019

The first Unitas Wholesale Trade Show will be taking place on 5-6 March 2019 at the Exhibition Centre Liverpool, a venue that has received significant positive feedback in recent years.

The Trade Show is a fantastic example of the Unitas Wholesale vision of being ‘first choice business partner’, anchored in ‘efficiency and effectiveness’ providing our key stakeholder partners with a suitable environment to do business.

“With the objective of bringing all key stakeholders together to one event, we are creating the conditions to ensure that there are plenty of opportunities to build on existing relationships, network with potential new member and suppliers and negotiate deals in an appropriate environment,” said Darren Goldney, Managing Director, Unitas Wholesale.

“On behalf of my team, I look forward to welcoming you to Liverpool, for the first Unitas Wholesale Trade Show which promises to be an unmissable networking and trading opportunity.”

Find out more by visiting http://www.unitaswholesaletradeshow.co.uk

Unitas Wholesale: the UK’s largest food and drink wholesale buying group

The merger of wholesale buying groups Landmark Wholesale Ltd and Today’s Wholesale Services Ltd completed yesterday creating Unitas Wholesale Ltd, the UK’s largest food and drink wholesale buying group, dedicated to supporting circa 180 independent wholesalers who in turn support thousands of independent retailers and small businesses.

“Through enhanced scale 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 that is taking place within the wholesale sector,” said Darren Goldney, managing director, Unitas Wholesale.

Both groups have been through a period of consultation and selection with management and staff and can now confirm the structure to support Unitas. The Unitas Central Office will be located at the current Today’s Group head office in Doncaster.

“We are excited about the opportunities that Unitas will bring and glad that we have got to this stage quickly and smoothly,” said Goldney. “The efficiency of having access to greater scale with less points of contact demonstrates independent wholesale is organising itself for the future. With that increased scale, the best practices that both organisations bring will also make our sales efforts more effective.

“Examples include a tighter, more focused own label range; a broader offering of central services that reduce costs for wholesalers and grows the footprint of sales; core range schemes that reach beyond the enlarged symbol estate, and the development of promotional execution processes that improve return on investment.”

Current 2018 joint business agreements between the two groups and suppliers will remain in place until the end of the calendar year. The new Unitas Wholesale trading team will begin discussions with suppliers regarding 2019 from 1 December with operational alignment occurring throughout 2019 via a process of integration.

Goldney concluded: “The creation of Unitas Wholesale offers an incredible opportunity to support independent businesses and enable them to thrive. Unitas will also create a new and exciting opportunity for suppliers, independent wholesalers and the thousands of independent businesses that we collectively serve.”

Country Fare hosts debut ‘Fresh Christmas’ Trade Show

Country Fare has hosted its first ever ‘Fresh Christmas’ Trade Show for suppliers and members of staff.

The Bournemouth-based foodservice company welcomed 28 suppliers and 12 members of staff to the event last week (Wednesday 26 September).

Hosted at The Italian Villa, Canford Cliffs, the event involved new product launches, exclusive deals and four different food zones showcasing more than 300 products. The four zones comprised:

  1. The Savoury Zone
  2. The Discovery Zone
  3. The Sweet Zone
  4. The Cheese Zone

With early bird saving opportunities and deals available exclusively on the day of the event, guests also enjoyed three chef demonstrations from Mark Tilling, Chris Godfrey and Molecular Magic Creative Catering. Suppliers in attendance included Landmark Wholesale, Cherry Tree Preserves, HB Ingredients, Gourmet Classic, Dorset Tea, Handmade Cake Co, Prestige Food and Whitakers.

“This event was our first ever ‘Fresh Christmas’ Trade Show, and I’m delighted that it was a resounding success,” said Tim Whyatt, Marketing Manager, Country Fare. “Christmas is a busy time for everyone, and this event gave guests the opportunity to discover the latest new products, flavours and gain inspiration for the festive season.”

Les Mohammed, Foodservice Trading Controller at Landmark Wholesale, commented: “Country Fare is renowned in this industry for hosting insightful, interesting and very useful events for its staff and for suppliers, and so it came as no surprise that this event followed suit.”

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

Landmark Wholesale’s own-brand water scoops Local Shop Quality Food Awards

Sun Spring carried off the top prize in the ‘Other Soft Drinks’ category at the awards, held on Thursday 27 September at Grosvenor House Hotel, London.

After Landmark Wholesale launched Sun Spring earlier this year, the buying group is celebrating selling in excess of one million bottles with the addition of three new flavours to the range: Apple and Blackcurrant, Lemon and Lime and Kiwi and Strawberry. All are available in 500ml sports cap bottles with an RRP of 45p.

Anna Roddis, Trading Controller at Landmark Wholesale, commented: “We’re delighted to have scooped this prestigious prize at the Local Shop Quality Food Awards.

“With the crackdown on sugar at the forefront of many customers’ minds, water is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to sugary drinks. With a value offering but a premium feel, Sun Spring is ideal for retail, foodservice and catering formats.”

Unitas Wholesale Ltd announces Board Directors

The joint boards of Landmark Wholesale and Today’s Group were delighted that members overwhelmingly voted last week to support the creation of Unitas Wholesale Ltd from 1 November 2018.

The organisation will have a combined turnover in excess of £8bn and will represent wholesalers selling and distributing to thousands of outlets across every trade channel. This is an excellent opportunity for suppliers and independent wholesalers to work together in a way that drives greater efficiency and effectiveness in getting products and services to market.

Throughout the transition and integration process and moving forward, retaining and attracting key talent has been and will be a key consideration, fundamental to Unitas’s future and the success of its partners.

Sam Wilcox will become Unitas Wholesale Chairman and Simon Hannah of JW Filshill, Deputy Chairman.

“We are delighted to announce the appointment of Darren Goldney as Managing Director and John Mills as Deputy Managing Director,” said Wilcox. “Darren and John have worked hard and collaboratively over recent months to cut through previous organisational differences and focus on the vision and strategy that will work for both groups’ members and suppliers in the long term and both Boards thank them. Their complementary range of skills will be vital to drive our development agenda and bring the great experiences of both organisations together to form a new one.”

Wilcox continued: “We are also pleased to announce the balance of the management executive. Andrew Thewlis is appointed as Finance Director, John Baines as Trading Director and John Kinney as Retail Director. All three bring fabulous experience, knowledge, skills and above all, they possess the determination to make Unitas a huge success.”

John Schofield, Finance Director for Today’s Group has taken the decision to retire from the business in May 2019. “John has a long and distinguished track record of success with Nisa and Today’s Group and through that journey he has gained huge respect from members, suppliers and staff,” said Darren Goldney. “We are delighted that John has agreed to act as Transformation Director from the formation of Unitas until he leaves in May 2019.”

In addition to the executive directors, the new Unitas Wholesale Board will be made up of eight member directors from each group ensuring all channels and business types are represented. A full list of member directors is below. All appointments are effective from 1 November 2018.

 

Unitas Wholesale Ltd Member Board Directors

Sony Bihal, Time Wholesale Services (UK) Ltd

Jim Cummiskey, Failte Foods Ltd

Manish Dhamecha, Dhamecha Foods Ltd

Simon Hannah, J W Filshill Limited

George Hepburn, JWG plc

Chris Hughes, Regal Wholesale Ltd

Kali Mulchandani, Imperial Cash & Carry Ltd

Nick Ramsden, DB Ramsden & Co Ltd

Amaan Ramzan, United Wholesale Grocers Ltd

James Russell, Blakemore Wholesale

Asim Sarwar, United Wholesale (Scotland) Ltd

Marcus Singh, Hyperama plc

Greg Suszczenia, AG Parfetts & Sons Ltd

Jay Suterwalla, Sutaka UK Ltd

Andrew Wild, Wilds of Oldham

Don Wouhra, East End Foods plc

Landmark Wholesale and Today’s Group members vote to merge

Members of wholesale buying groups Landmark Wholesale and Today’s Group have voted for the groups to merge. Of those members who voted, 96% were in favour of the merger going ahead.

The member vote, which closed on 6 September 2018, will result in a larger, more effective and efficient group, Unitas Wholesale Ltd, dedicated to supporting independent wholesalers who will in turn support thousands of independent retailers and small businesses.

“We are absolutely delighted that our members voted to merge the two groups,” said John Mills, Landmark Wholesale managing director and Darren Goldney, Today’s Group managing director. “Through enhanced scale, relevance and capability, Unitas Wholesale will be the sustainable wholesale business partner for its supplier base, creating an alternative route to market in the face of the consolidation that is taking place within the wholesale sector.”

The merger will formally complete on 31 October 2018. By then both groups will have been through a period of consultation and selection with management and staff and will have announced the structure to support the new company.

Current 2018 joint business agreements between the two groups and suppliers will remain in place until the end of the calendar year. The Unitas Wholesale trading team will commence discussions with suppliers regarding 2019 terms once the merger has completed, with operational alignment occurring throughout 2019 via a process of integration.

“The creation of Unitas Wholesale offers an incredible opportunity to support independent businesses and enable them to thrive,” concluded Mills and Goldney. “Unitas will also create a new and exciting opportunity for suppliers, independent wholesalers and the thousands of independent businesses that we collectively serve.”

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