Speciality wholesaler Cotswold Fayre has made more than 200 premium frozen and lifestyle products available to independent retailers.
The categories were launched by the firm last month. Available products within frozen include ice cream, part-baked pastries, prawns, pies, quiche, fish cakes and fruit from third-party suppliers. Its home and lifestyle range includes candles, fragrances and body lotions. Orders between £500 and £749.99 will incur a £50 delivery fee, while £25 will be charged for deliveries between £750 and £999.99. The firm will do free delivery on £1,000 or more.
Cotswold Fayre boss Paul Hargreaves told Better Retailing that customers were no longer seeing frozen as a value category. He added: “We went into chilled a few years ago and frozen was the final piece to explore. It’s a big opportunity because there isn’t any other wholesaler with a nice range of speciality frozen food.
“Customers were complaining about the minimum order requirements when they went to certain brands themselves. Frozen has always been viewed as the poor relative of chilled and there was a conception it wasn’t as good in quality.
“People now realise that isn’t the case. Sometimes a frozen product can be fresher as it’s frozen directly from the manufacturer, rather than being in the supply chain for days. You used to have certain companies who created associations of poor quality with frozen. Brands like Cook have helped dispel that association and show customers that frozen can be premium quality.”
To help its move into frozen, Cotswold Fayre has also moved it main distribution centre to the Midlands in Hinckley.
Hargreaves said: “We were struggling to operate the chilled from our previous warehouse. Having a distribution centre in the middle of the country works better because you can make more frequent deliveries across more locations.
“Our availability has actually improved now and we’re running at 98% availability, which is much better than our pre-Covid levels.”