Weekly news summary 3rd July 2014




A six-week consultation on the Government’s proposals to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products began on 26 June.

In response to the publication of the draft regulations, Colin Wragg, head of UK corporate and legal affairs at Imperial Tobacco, said: “We are baffled by the small window of opportunity the Government has given to respond. We will respond to the consultation by rigorously refuting the Chantler report findings that plain packaging will contribute to the Government’s public health objectives.”

Colin Wragg Imperial Tobacco

Colin Wragg

Plain packaging carries many unintended consequences, said Wragg. “In Australia the evidence is plain – smoking prevalence has not decreased and illicit trade has increased by 20% since its introduction (KPMG).”

The tobacco supply chain supports more than 66,000 jobs (Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association), and tobacco sales generate over 30% of revenue for independent shopkeepers (Office of Fair Trading).

Wragg said: “Our message to the trade is simple: make your voice heard. Act now by responding to the consultation and by alerting your local MP. You can also support the ‘No Prime Minister’ campaign by visiting www.noprimeminister.org.uk.”

The closing date for responses to the consultation is 7 August.

Tel: Imperial Tobacco (0117) 963 6636.


The Federation of Wholesale Distributors’ chief executive James Bielby has praised the Department of Health for excluding packaging not used for sale to the consumer from any standardised packaging requirements for tobacco products.

The DoH announcement, made as the Government launched a second consultation on the adoption of plain packaging, means that boxes and packs which are not seen by the consumer will be able to carry brand names, pricing details and clear information on the products.

James Bielby FWD

James Bielby

The FWD has argued that packaging in the distribution chain cannot influence young people’s attitudes to smoking, as it is not seen by potential consumers, and that removing identification would cause expense, delay and confusion.

Bielby commented: “In the previous consultation and in subsequent meetings with ministers, we told the Government that any revision of the tobacco packaging rules must be based on firm evidence that the changes will help stop young people taking up smoking.

“Packaging used in the supply chain before the point of sale cannot influence attitudes to smoking, as existing tobacco display rules mean that only tobacco traders can see these products in cash & carries.”

Tel: FWD (01323) 724952.


Bill Creighton is Bestway Group’s new category manager for wines.

His licensed trade experience has included working as wines & spirits buyer for McColl’s and as beers, wines & spirits buyer for Dhamecha C&C for four years.

Commenting on his new job, Creighton said: “Wine is a category that offers real growth potential for Bestway’s and Batleys’ customers. In convenience, retailers are realising that premium wines are the way forward, but many still need a little support on ranging and promotions. In catering and foodservice I will be looking to add value to our current wine offering.”

Group trading director Martin Race said: “Wine is a huge category and requires specialist category knowledge. It offers fantastic opportunities for growth.”

Tel: Bestway Group 020-8453 1234.


Brakes Group, which owns M&J Seafood, has been named as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) fish supplier of the year.

M&J Seafood van In the first year that the awards have taken place in the UK, the wholesaler beat off competition from other foodservice specialists for its commitment to sourcing MSC certified products and promoting sustainable choices.

Brakes, which claims to have been the first UK foodservice company to offer an MSC approved product in 2003, now stocks more than 100 products with this certification.

Natalie Phillips, the company’s category manager – fish & seafood, said: “This is a fantastic honour. We have continued to extend the range and are absolutely committed to delivering MSC products to our customers.”

Toby Middleton, MSC senior UK country manager, commented: “Brakes’ large range of MSC products comes from over six years’ commitment to expand its product range and provide customers with certified sustainable fish and seafood.

“This work has enabled schools, universities, contract caterers and independent business owners to make the most out of their own MSC certification and promote the sustainably certified seafood that they serve, by using the MSC’s blue eco-label.”

Tel: Brakes Group (01233) 206000.

Published Date: July 3, 2014
Category: Wholesale Industry News