Frozen goods specialist Consort Frozen Foods has been praised for its efforts to keep shop freezers full during the pandemic by fellow wholesaler Vikas Buying Group.

The firm’s sales director Rish Data told betterRetailing: “They went above and beyond, they’ve had everyone including the managers out making deliveries when stores couldn’t get stock from anybody else. They turned down orders from the public and advised them to shop at their local stores instead.”

betterRetailing got in touch with Consort Frozen Foods to find out more about what it had to offer stores within its beat of Southern England. Sales and marketing manager Dean Hanson said: “Because our main trade in Ice cream was seasonal, we’ve got good capacity so we branched out into frozen foods and it put us in a good place to help during lockdown. When stock was scarce we put a lot of energy into sourcing what stores needed, Our general manager Steve Priest did an incredible job. Take peas for example, we had price-marked, non pricemarked, different case sizes, different varieties and different packaging but we got them all listed and out to stores.”

Asked how it altered its delivered service, the manager responded: “When the weather is good ice cream delivery orders can surge 50% overnight, so we’re used to dealing with changing demand. Reps from symbol groups were calling us on behalf of their stores to try and get stock. We had our reps doing telesales and deliveries and our telesales teams doing deliveries so that small shops could win those new customers, and I hope those customers stick with them because our retail customers worked flat out too.”

Asked whether the rise of frozen goods under lockdown was here to stay, Hanson told betterRetailing: “It’s been expanding year on year, partly through more stores giving more space to the category.” The manager highlighted offers from both Consort Frozen Foods and Direct Wholesale Foods that cut the cost for stores of expanding their frozen space. When retailers purchase certain freezer deals, they receive free frozen grocery or ice cream stock to fill it with worth up to £900 at retail sales value. 

Both Consort Frozen Foods and Direct Wholesale Foods are part of the UK-wide First 4 Frozen wholesale buying group.

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