The Whole Society

FWD-commissioned study highlights the scale of the wholesale sector – and the challenges it faces to maintain that

The wholesale industry is estimated to support 1.4 million jobs in the UK, according to a new study commissioned by FWD (Federation of Wholesale Distributors) that showed the influence the sector has on the economy.

Unveiled at FWD’s annual conference on 28 June, The Whole Society report highlights just how crucial wholesalers are to providing a link between large food and drink manufacturers, and Britain’s independent retailers and foodservice providers.

The year-long study, carried out by Capital Economics, crunched numbers from official statistics, publically available data and a survey it carried out wholesalers – and totted up that the industry boasts a turnover of £29 billion and generates £3 billion of gross value annually.

But while the numbers The Whole Society collated makes for positive reading, it also warned that certain issues, such as food inflation, the automation of manual roles and Britain’s impending exit from the EU, pose substantial challenges for wholesalers.

And that comes on the back of a squeeze on wholesalers’ margins due to upward pressure on wage costs, which has resulted in higher incomes, but may also have contributed to smaller workforces.

The full report, which delves into the detail of wholesale’s impact on the industries it serves and provides in-depth analysis on several key topics, is available to download from the FWD website.

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