The launch of a new wholesale service by leading supermarket chain Iceland Foods was welcomed by shop owners hoping the move will shake up the wholesale market.

The UK-wide trial, which rolled out on 15 February, delivers a full range of lines across frozen, fresh, chilled, soft drinks and alcohol to retailers with no minimum orders and free deliveries on orders of more than £35.

Explaining the model, Anthony Howard, Iceland Foods business development manager, told RN: “We are trying to bridge the gap between the wholesaler and retailer. The deliveries to retailers and caterers will come through a store or from our warehouse depending on the volumes.”

Iceland Trade will operate on the same delivery terms as its retail business, with a specialist online site allowing retailers to order up to 12 cases of a product. “If more are required, we can still do it, we’ll just need to be told,” Howard added.

Hitesh Pandya, owner of Toni’s Newsagents in Kent, told RN: “The independent sector needs an outside player because there are an awful lot of unaffiliated stores who are finding it difficult to get a good service due to the prices and ranging they require.

“Considering we lost Palmer & Harvey and a few ambient businesses over the past two years since the Tesco-Booker deal, I welcome anyone who comes into the market providing a good service.” 

Harj Gill, of Windmill Select & Save in Birmingham, said the new player would help stores smaller than his that often struggle to meet delivery terms. He added: “It’s really good to have the option of a wide range of products, but I would like more clarification on whether it’s only Iceland own label that’s available. This would be a drawback for me as my customers would presume that I have entered into some kind of partnership with Iceland.”

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