Amazon “a long way” from challenging food wholesalers

Amazon’s decision to offer free grocery delivery to its Prime customers is more of a threat to multiple grocers, says FWD Chief Executive James Bielby.

Bielby believes that while several foodservice wholesalers turned to straight-to-consumer models during the Covid-19 crisis, they’re gradually becoming a less-important focus – although the success they’ve enjoyed has probably paved the way for Amazon Fresh’s extension into next- and same-day delivery.

Several foodservice wholesalers, including JJ Foodservice, have announced their intention to continue to supply consumers as the UK starts to return to normal.

“Amazon’s extension of its grocery delivery service poses more of a threat to the multiple grocers than trade wholesalers,” said Bielby.

“Some wholesalers have been offering home delivery to consumers during Covid-19 but since the reopening of the foodservice market this has become very much a secondary focus.

“These deliveries and those from independent local shops, indicates consumers have embraced the delivery model and Amazon’s same-day model is an offer the major mults will struggle to meet, unlike local shops which have been successfully delivering millions of items to homes in real time during Covid-19.”

As Amazon grows further into the food market, Bielby said he felt the tech giant would struggle to pose too much a threat to wholesalers in a trade setting currently and the personal touch gives the wholesale sector an edge.

He added: “Amazon are also a long way from challenging established food wholesalers who offer a bespoke added-value service to caterers in ways that a one-size-fits-all national delivery model cannot.”

Amazon coronavirus covid-19 delivery FWD James Bielby JJ Foodservice