Since May, the symbol group has advertised its wholesale services at NFRN district business meetings across the south of England.

Unaffiliated retailers have been able to sign supply agreements to stock Co-op and Heritage through Nisa since the two companies merged last year. 

However, Surrey retailer Ralph Patel, who attended the NFRN Croydon meeting, said Nisa wants to increase its distribution through unaffiliated retailers. 

He told betterRetailing: “There are obviously terms and conditions to meet, but Nisa said the wholesale costs and retail pricing will be the same for unaffiliated store owners as they are for its symbol-group partners.”

betterRetailing understands that the most common minimum order requirements for unaffiliated stores also match those for Nisa affiliated shops – 100 chilled and frozen cases, and 200 ambient per delivery, though one retailer present claimed there are other ‘tiers’ of minimum orders available for unaffiliated shops.The minimum contract length for non-Nisa stores is a six-month rolling agreement.

According to Nisa sales director Steve Leach, the symbol group has been in discussions with five retailers following the NFRN meetings.

He told betterRetailing: “We believe these meetings with the NFRN are of great importance to Nisa and have taken a more proactive approach to develop these new relationships. 

“This is why we have been taking a more active approach with the NFRN; we are keen to ensure that retailers understand how Nisa can help them, whether directly as a partner or through the services and advice we can offer. 

“NFRN members can choose as much or as little involvement with Nisa as they like,” he added.

“For instance, the choice of fascia status or not.”