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    Scottish wholesalers’ programme hailed by local producers

    Jean Miller from Millers Larder

    Local producers have hailed benefits of Delivering Growth Through Wholesale (DGTW) programme by Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) which aims to educate and engage with producers on the opportunities provided by the wholesale sector.

    Launched in 2021, DGTW is a local supply chain training and education programme delivered by the SWA, designed in collaboration with SAOS and Scotland Food & Drink, and supported by the Scottish Government. It provides local producers with a one-to-one mentoring support session to ensure their business is wholesale-ready.

    The case studies, featuring Perthshire-based Clootie McToot, Millers Larder in Lanarkshire and Lost Loch Spirits, based in rural Aberdeenshire, will be launched at this week’s In-Drinks trade show at the SEC, Glasgow when John Forteith, chair of the DGTW programme, will discuss the benefits for Scottish producers.

    The case studies clearly show the benefits for the producer in participating in the training programme. For example, Pete Dignan from Lost Loch Spirits highlights that since completing the programme in early 2022, the company has started trading with two new wholesalers which has resulted in four new product listings – leading to an increase in total sales through wholesale by £10,000.

    Pete added that DGTW has enabled Lost Loch, which produces absinthe, gin and whisky, to make good contacts within wholesale in a targeted way and develop an understanding of the firm’s USP within the wholesale marketplace.

    With a better understanding of wholesale as part of its expansion strategy, Lost Loch Spirits is looking to start trading with pub chains and make more connections south of the Border – something that wholesalers can help with.

    “We are very good at making our brands but not so good at selling it and my experience of DGTW has helped us focus on areas of the business where we need more expertise,” he said. “We’re at the stage now where we’re ambitious to grow our business.”

    Scottish wholesalers' programme hailed by local producers

    For Michelle Maddox at Clootie McToot, producer of a growing range of clootie dumplings for both retail and foodservice markets, taking part in the DGTW programme in January 2023 has proved beneficial.

    Since completing the programme and up until October 2023, Clootie McToot has achieved total annual sales through the UK wholesale channel of about £30,000 and secured six new product listings.

    Michelle said, “Before getting involved with DGTW, I had a meeting with a wholesaler and just didn’t understand the wholesale terminology and what wholesalers needed so the programme was really useful in that respect. I also learned how important wholesale is as a route to market so there are massive benefits and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending other small producers to get involved.”

    Clootie McToot won the Local Supplier of the Year award at the Scottish Wholesale Achievers awards in Edinburgh last month, scoring maximum points for its understanding of the Scottish wholesale channel, its local roots, and marketing and ecommerce activities, as well showcasing the innovation and quality of Scotland’s food and drink.

    At Millers Larder, an artisan producer of handmade chutneys, pickles and its award-winning Perfyit Piccalilli, Jean Miller had the advantage of having made inroads into the wholesale channel via SWA member Braehead Foods but wanted to further develop her business in the sector.

    Since completing the programme, Millers Larder has seen total sales through the wholesale channel reach a five-figure sum and total turnover soar even higher. Jean said, “I’m a great believer in making connections – they are so important.

    “I have always realised that wholesale is the way forward for my business but being part of DGTW reaffirmed that for me and in the future wholesale will be my bread and butter. Wholesale is essential and I want to build my connections. I’d recommend DGTW to other producers looking to get into wholesale,” she added. “It’s been a game-changer for me.”

    Scottish wholesalers' programme hailed by local producers

    SWA chief executive Colin Smith, commenting on the success of the programme, said, “It is remarkable that as of March this year there have been over 230 new Scottish product listings via 59 new wholesale partnerships since launching DGTW in 2021 – and testament to the willingness of both producers and wholesalers to work together to bring exciting and innovative products to a wider audience.

    “As our case studies demonstrate, the initiative equips local Scottish producers with the insights and strategies needed to successfully navigate the landscape of the Scottish wholesale channel through training comprising of two half-day virtual workshops, followed by bespoke one-to-one support.

    “We’re keen to work with even more producers in 2024 so please contact us at [email protected] to find out more.”

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