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SWA Foodservice Event Turns Spotlight on Supplier Opportunities

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SWA Foodservice Event Turns Spotlight on Supplier Opportunities

SWA Foodservice Event Turns Spotlight on Supplier Opportunities
November 08
13:28 2017


A new networking event facilitated by the Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) was held last month in Edinburgh. Organised by the trade association’s Foodservice Group and attended by wholesalers, suppliers and industry figures, the event provided a platform for suppliers to discuss market opportunities and share information to help highlight the growing importance of the foodservice channel.

During the conference, Jon Mack , general manager at CIS Excellence Awards sponsor Bidfood Scotland (pictured above, 4th from left) spoke about the complexities facing wholesalers in Scotland: ‘Operators are active in a highly competitive marketplace at a time when a reducing skills base, increased pricing and consumer expectations are combining to present ever greater challenges,’ he said. ‘Collaboration with suppliers will become increasingly important as our sector focuses on helping businesses to grow.’

Meanwhile, the MD of Dunns Food and Drinks, Jim Rown (pictured above far right), tracked the evolution of foodservice in Scotland and the development of technology within the sector. He estimated Scotland’s share of the £10.3bn market at £1bn, employing around 3,000 people with a further 30,000 jobs supported indirectly.

‘We are a major contributor to the economy but wholesalers must speak up on key issues, from the apprenticeship levy and business rates to the living wage and chronic shortage of chefs and drivers,’ he said.

Rowan also recognised the possibility of an imminent ‘people crisis’ when the UK leaves the EU in 2019, and the need to attract more women into wholesale: ‘We all know that investing in people is vital for the continuation of our businesses but technology must also go hand in hand and should not be relegated to a lesser level of importance,’ he added.

Meanwhile, Ants Rixon (pictured left) spoke about ViVAS, the joint venture between Bibendum and Bidfood that has grown to become a £30m business supplying wine, beers and spirits, and the STA’s Marc Crothall highlighted the growth in tourism as an opportunity for wholesalers and suppliers.

Chaired by Fergus Chambers, chairman of CIS Excellence Awards Lifetime Excellence Award sponsor, Braehead Foods, the event was held at the Hilton Edinburgh Airport at the end of October.

Main picture, L-R: Ants Rixon; Marc Crothall; Ross Brown; Jon Mack; Julie Dunn; Fergus Chambers; David Cochrane; Jim Dunn

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Catering Scotland

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