A proliferation of foodservice customers has driven growth in grocery wholesale, with sales set to increase for the next four years, according to IGD.
UK grocery wholesalers saw sales in 2016 grow 0.3 per cent on the year before to just under £30 billion. This increase was mainly caused by the development of more clients in the foodservice market, with sales growing by 2.1 per cent in the segment.
IGD predicts that the sector will reach sales of £31.3bn by 2021, representing a compound annual growth rate of 0.9 per cent overall, 2.5 per cent in delivered foodservice, 0.5 per cent in delivered grocery and 0.1 per cent in retail-led cash and carry.
Speaking at IGD’s wholesaling conference, the organisation’s chief economist James Walton, said: “For another year, foodservice has lifted the wholesaling sector, representing the vibrancy of the expanding out-of-home customer. We’re also seeing growth in the chilled and fresh, and beer, wines and spirits categories, demonstrating clear investment opportunities for wholesalers.
“IGD’s recent survey indicates that four out of five wholesale suppliers remain optimistic about the future of the wholesale channel, including independent operators. Therefore, there is still plenty of opportunity for wholesalers wanting to drive growth in the independent market.
“Looking ahead five years, the sector still has plenty to play for. Not only is the growth of the foodservice segment set to continue, but according to new IGD research, more than two-thirds (67 per cent) of suppliers to UK wholesalers are keen to continue investing in the channel. So there remains huge opportunity for success.”