Wholesaler depot

Slower growth for leading wholesalers in 2021 says Lumina Intelligence

Lumina Intelligence research showed the UK’s leading wholesalers experienced growth of 3.7% in 2020/21 – down on the previous year.

Figures in 2019/20 showed wholesalers had recorded growth of 3.9%, with the decline in the past 12 months driven by foodservice wholesalers who suffered significant drops due to the Covid-19 pandemic – Brakes registering a 34.3% decline and BFS Group (Bidfood) 24.8%.

The findings – published in Lumina Intelligence’s new UK Wholesale Report 2021/22 – discovered that leading traditional wholesalers grew share of combined value by 6.4ppts to 84%.

Foodservice wholesalers, Brakes and Bidfood, have seen their combined share of the top nine leading wholesaler turnovers decline by 6.6ppts to just 7.9%.

“The last 18-24 months have been incredibly turbulent for the wholesale industry,” said Insight Director Blonnie Whist.

“Despite high sales, traditional wholesalers were faced with significantly increased demand that cause huge pressure on the supply chain. In contrast, foodservice wholesalers saw demand fall off a cliff.

“It’s no surprise that guaranteed product availability was one of the issues highlighted by operators and retailers, however there was arguably little more wholesalers could have done. With restrictions easing, we expect to see a further rebalancing between foodservice and retail, which will enable greater normality and more robust demand planning.”

The report also revealed concern over the sector’s preparation for the High in saturated Fat, Salt and Sugar (HFSS) legislation that’s coming later this year, with 44% of retailers saying they hadn’t head of it – rising to 54% for independent retailers. Half of these retailers say they expect updates for their wholesalers.

That was mirrored in foodservice too, with 47% of operators saying they were unaware of the legislation – 3ppts higher than the retailer figure. Despite HFSS having minimal impact on hospitality, 56% of operators are worried that a similar legislation will be introduced within hospitality.

“The lack of awareness around HFSS should be a red flag for wholesalers, who should take this opportunity to show support to its customers and generate loyalty by nurturing them through the process with advice,” added Whist.

“While many won’t be affected, there is a duty of care on the industry to ensure everyone is aware of what is coming up.”

Blonnie Whist coronavirus covid-19 Foodservice HFSS Lumina Intelligence retail Wholesalers