FWD launches podcast

The UK’s food and drink wholesale sector is the topic of discussion in WholeStory, the brand new podcast from FWD

Deflation across the convenience channel could be a likely outcome as competition hots up in wholesale, with suppliers racing to offer enhanced promotional support to combat their ‘go-hard’ approach to price hikes.

This was one of the key messages outlined by Dawood Pervez, FWD Chairman and Bestway Wholesale MD during the debut episode of FWD’s new podcast, WholeStory, which is available to listen to now.

During the pilot episode, Pervez shared his thoughts and industry insight with FWD CEO James Bielby. “What you’re seeing is a hotting up of competition in the market,” he said.

“What we could be seeing is deflationary impacts as wholesalers compete for market share. Suppliers are providing enhanced promotional support having gone hard on inflation.”

Availability of stock, arguably the biggest challenge wholesalers faced during the pandemic, has stabilised with “most supply chains in a far better place than they have been” according to Pervez.

During the conversation the Bestway Wholesale MD said convenience retail is unlikely to be impacted by a downturn in consumer spending in the same way as foodservice.

“The volume gained during the pandemic is being held on to, but growth is not what we saw in March 2020,” said Pervez. “People are looking to buy products more efficiently, with out of home generally hit first which translates to spend in-home.”

The podcast also included b2b.store MD Rob Mannion, who spoke about the importance of taking a tech-first approach in wholesale. “The average basket spend in depot is typically around the £500 point,” he said. “Compared to an online order which is typically in the region of £1,000.” He urged wholesalers to consider a range of fulfilment methods to take advantage of that differential.

Pervez agreed, citing an IGD report which showed after 23 years, delivered wholesale has outgrown the traditional ‘collect’ or cash & carry method of trading. “Wholesalers need to be able to have order capability,” he said. “Deliveries are bigger especially for foodservice and catering which are north of 80%.”

The podcast will be an ongoing series featuring FWD members ranging across wholesalers, suppliers and service providers.

FWD launched the podcast in response to the needs of its members, said Bielby. “The WholeStory podcast is another way for us to bring wholesale together. We know there is no one-size-fits-all approach: some members really engage with our email updates while others prefer conversations in-person, in-depot or online via Teams. This podcast enables listeners to tune in as they carry on with their day, but able to digest – in around 20 minutes – the stories that are relevant to them. We are looking forward to working with members and other industry professionals for future episodes.”

Episode 1 of WholeStory – An FWD Podcast, is available here now

b2b.store Bestway Dawood Pervez FWD James Bielby Rob Mannion