Braehead Foods Managing Director Craig Stevenson

Dozens of new wholesalers sign up to SWA

Thirty new wholesalers have signed up to become members of the Scottish Wholesale Association as businesses look for extra support during the pandemic.

A host of Scottish wholesalers including Ayrshire-based Braehead Foods have joined during a lockdown recruitment drive north of the border.

The spike in numbers is a direct result of the Covid-19 crisis as the sector seeks quick and confidential advice on how to navigate the ever-changing regulations and submitting grant applications.

“Everything changed last March and as our customers in the hospitality industry suffered, so did we,” said Braehead Foods Managing Director Craig Stevenson (pictured).

“While we’re one of Scotland’s largest independent food wholesalers, that doesn’t mean we know everything – we were having to work things out for ourselves like everyone else.

“So, joining the SWA has really helped the business and having someone at the end of the phone, and knowing everything you discuss is confidential has been invaluable, particularly when we’ve been applying for funding and grant aid.

“As a member of the SWA, I’ve spoken to people in the industry I’ve not been in contact with for years and others I wouldn’t normally engage with – that alone is worth the membership fee.”

SWA Chief Executive Colin Smith welcomed the raft of new members and says networking is always a key benefit to wholesalers within the trade group.

“While we’re unable to progress with our key networking events – including our annual Scottish Wholesale Achievers awards – we are always at the end of the phone to assist members and help them make contact with suppliers and vice versa,” said Smith.

“Our work in helping to secure the Scottish Wholesale Food and Drink Resilience Fund towards the end of last year to help qualifying wholesalers affected by coronavirus restrictions is a prime example of how our focus has evolved since the first lockdown last March.

“We saw very early on that the pandemic was going to have a massive impact on our sector and – in some instances – members lost up to 95% of their foodservice income due to various licensed and hospitality Covid lockdowns.”

Braehead Foods Colin Smith coronavirus covid-19 Craig Stevenson Scotland SWA wholesale