CJ Lang & Son, the long-established Dundee-based independent food and drink wholesaler, has been named the best wholesale business in Scotland at the prestigious Scottish Wholesale Achievers awards.

Achievers, created and organised by the Scottish Wholesale Association, recognises professionalism and excellence across all sectors of the wholesale industry in Scotland. Almost 500 people attended the gala dinner and awards presentation, hosted by TV presenter Cathy Macdonald at the Sheraton Grand in Edinburgh last Thursday (21st February).

CJ Lang, which owns 114 Spar stores across Scotland and supplies 187 independent Spar outlets north of the Border, fought off stiff competition from businesses the length and breadth of Scotland to win the sought-after Champion of Champions accolade, sponsored by Kraft Foods UK. But the company also won two other categories: Best Retail Wholesaler (Delivered), sponsored by JTI; and a new award for 2012, Best Symbol Group, sponsored by AB InBev.

Judges praised CJ Lang's "outstanding performance" across all aspects of the business. "This company's exceptional next-day, or even same-day, deliveries contribute greatly to giving customers a first-class service," said Peter Baird, field sales development manager at Kraft Foods, sponsor of the Champion of Champions award.

"Its one-stop-shop opportunity has the retailer and the consumer at the heart of all that it does and customer feedback also had a big part to play in the final outcome of this award," he added. "Driving both efficiencies and business development by focusing on improving technology is also impressive - this focus provides cost savings and, importantly, gives CJ Lang's retail customers a greater understanding of how to engage with the consumer.

"Strong supplier relationships executed through joint business plans again focus on the end consumer and therefore ensure consistently impressive retail standards."

Speaking afterwards, Bill Mair, CJ Lang's sales director, said: "We're very much a people-focused business and these awards reflect this. Our commitment to providing the best possible levels of customer service is at the very heart of everything we do at CJ Lang and every member of staff has a role to play in this.

"As our competitors will testify, our industry is tough at the moment but there are opportunities for growth if you are innovative and we will continue to invest in marketing, promotions and improving operating cost efficiencies through technology to seek out those opportunities."

Kate Salmon, executive director of the Edinburgh-based Scottish Wholesale Association, commented: "As always, we have seen extremely high levels of innovation from Scotland's wholesalers over the last year and a commitment to customer service that is extremely impressive.

"All of our winners are doing quite remarkable things to grow and develop their businesses, often taking risks but always embracing the partnership ethos that Achievers promotes. Achievers encourages best practice within Scottish wholesaling and challenges wholesalers - big and small - to think differently and engage more effectively with suppliers. That's why the initiative goes from strength to strength every year.

"As an association, we urge wholesalers and suppliers to use Achievers to enhance their business. It is a tremendous success story for our industry and I congratulate CJ Lang, our Champion of Champions for 2013 and, of course, each and every one of our winners."

The 2013 Roll of Honour

Champion of Champions, sponsored by Kraft Foods UK

CJ Lang

Great Place to Work, sponsored by SHS Sales & Marketing

JW Filshill

Best Cash & Carry Depot, sponsored by Britvic Soft Drinks

United Wholesale Grocers, Springburn

Best Delivered Operation - Retail, sponsored by JTI

CJ Lang

Best Symbol Group, sponsored by AB InBev

Spar, CJ Lang

Best Delivered Operation - Foodservice, sponsored by Taylors of Harrogate


Best Delivered Operation - On-Trade, sponsored by AG Barr

Sutherland Brothers

Corporate Responsibility Award, sponsored by Coca-Cola Enterprises

Forteith Foodservice

Best Marketing Initiative, sponsored by Mars Chocolate

United Wholesale (Scotland)

Employee of the Year, sponsored by Premier Foods

Abhay Singh, United Wholesale Grocers, Polmadie

Best Advertising Campaign

Irn-Bru 'Fanny'

Project Scotland

AG Barr

Best Overall Service

AG Barr

Supplier Sales Executive of the Year, sponsored by Batleys

Laurence Findlay, Unilever and Keir Stewart, AG Barr