SWA trains more Wholesale Local Food Champions

Fourteen people from several Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) members have named a Wholesale Local Food Champion as part of the SWA’s recently launched training programme, an initiative funded and supported by the Scottish Government.

James Stewart, a buyer at wholesaler Mark Murphy, is one of the Wholesale Local Food Champions.

These individuals are tasked with identifying local sourcing opportunities and working with Scottish producers to help them access new markets.

The next round of Wholesale Champions workshops will take place on 26-27 July. These half-day sessions will be delivered online and at no cost to SWA members. Wholesalers can register here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/foodchampiontraining

The Wholesale Local Food Champion project is an extension of the SWA’s successful Delivering Growth Through Wholesale (DGTW) producer initiative, launched in 2021 in collaboration with SAOS and Scotland Food & Drink. As part of the DGTW programme, 100 producers have participated in workshops designed to help improve engagement between Scottish producers and wholesalers, in a market worth £2.9 billion to the Scottish economy.

The fifth round of the DGTW workshops will take place on 23-24 August, and producers can register here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/deliveringgrowth

These sessions are aimed at producers of all sizes, from new start-ups to established businesses and those who need greater understanding and knowledge of the Scottish wholesale channel. The programme provides producers with tools and information to help them maximise opportunities within the wholesale industry.

Colin Smith, SWA chief executive, said: “The DGTW programme has really struck a chord with producers and wholesalers alike, and it’s been hugely satisfying to see producers gain a much better understanding of the scale of the wholesale industry, how it works, and the benefits and opportunities it can deliver for producers of all sizes.

“For wholesalers, the Local Food Champion programme enables them to tell producers about their commitment to local sourcing, what they are looking for, how they operate, and how to maximise sales once a listing is agreed.”

John Forteith, chair of the SWA DGTW steering group and who also delivers the training programme with Levercliff and SAOS, added: “Having a delivery programme that helps train and educate both the buyer and seller creates a common language that both can relate to.

“At our first Meet the Wholesaler event in March 2022, over 50 suppliers met with 30 wholesale buyers to showcase their products and spark new business opportunities.”

The SWA is planning to host another Meet the Wholesaler event in October in conjunction with Scotland Food & Drink. It is also producing a Wholesale Directory which will allow producers to find wholesalers that best fit their business.

One Wholesale Local Food Champion who has undergone training and is working to implement the initiative’s goals within Edinburgh-based wholesaler Mark Murphy is James Stewart. A buyer in the purchasing department, Stewart said: “I was asked by our management if this is something I would be interested in and it really appealed to me, as I am already dealing with a lot of local suppliers in my role.

“I found the training really useful and interesting, and gained some new skills that will definitely help me in my job and help grow our business and that of the producers we work with.”

He added: “I think the benefits of building up a really good relationship with your customers is so important and the training further highlighted that. It’s all about people, and the importance of local suppliers and provenance really came to the fore during the pandemic. Wholesalers need to collaborate with local producers to push the quality aspect and provenance of their produce – we can help them build their brand and their story.”


Published Date: June 4, 2023
Category: Wholesale Industry News