Scottish retailers will get increased support on legislation as Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) CEO Colin Smith has pledged to ‘collaborate more’ with suppliers and wholesalers on government issues.

The former Nisa retailer, who took full responsibility of the SWA at the start of this year, told RN more education would be provided on legislation. Government proposals covered will include upcoming consultations to limit how businesses can merchandise products with high levels of fat, salt and sugar.

“I’ve taken a full review of how the association operates with its wholesale and supplier members, and they can serve independent retailers better if we collaborate more,” he said. 

“We’ll enhance our mentoring programme available to wholesalers and open it up to suppliers. We want to ensure they understand the challenges of legislation and be able to pass information to retailers.”

The SWA has 37 wholesale members, including Batleys, Booker, Costco and Filshill. Britvic, Coca-Cola European Partners and Ferrero are among its 78 supplier partners. 

The proposed changes have also been designed to provide retailers assurance they are receiving expert support from their wholesalers. “We’ll implement an accredited apprenticeship scheme in our training academy and mentoring programme,” Smith said.

He added the SWA will organise more meetings with members and trade bodies such as the Scottish Grocers Federation. “There will be a series of events throughout the year to help increase awareness of the implications that legislation has,” he said.

“We also aim to help the industry tackle the challenges it will face during Brexit. We want to help them with their questions and guide them through this period of uncertainty.”

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