CJ LANG & Son, the long-established Dundee-based independent food and drink wholesaler, has been named the best wholesale business in the country at the prestigious Scottish Wholesale Achievers, the awards initiative created and organised by the Scottish Wholesale Association to recognise professionalism and excellence across all sectors of the industry in Scotland.

A long-established, family-owned business, CJ Lang owns 120 SPAR stores across Scotland and supplies a further 200 independent SPAR outlets north of the Border. It fended off stiff competition from wholesalers all over the country to win the sought-after Champion of Champions award, sponsored by tobacco firm Philip Morris.

CJ Lang also lifted the Best Symbol Group and Best Delivered Operation categories, sponsored by soft drinks firm Cott and Imperial Tobacco UK respectively, and was runner-up in Best Marketing Initiative at Achievers - sponsored by Taylors of Harrogate - for its 'Shop & Win' campaign to drive footfall in its customers' Spar stores.

Judges pointed to CJ Lang's "passion and commitment to their business", with Karen Murray, regional sales manager at Philip Morris, saying: "The market is very competitive in Scotland and this year's Champion of Champions displayed a great winning mindset throughout, demonstrating best practice in many areas. This wholesaler is clearly always looking to improve its business."

Duncan Cunningham, head of corporate and legal affairs at Imperial Tobacco UK, said that CJ Lang "stood out as an example of best practice". He explained: "This company's highly professional approach to wholesaling was demonstrated by the sophisticated processes and systems it has in place, along with a commitment to continuous customer service improvement."

At Cott, judges Julie Kelly, Scotland wholesale manager and Melanie Morrisey, wholesale and field sales controller, praised CJ Lang's ability to turn challenges into an opportunity to raise standards within Spar, and hailed the company's symbol standards as "world-class".

Kate Salmon, executive director of the Edinburgh-based Scottish Wholesale Association, commented: "This is an outstanding result for CJ Lang, one of our sector's leading independent, family-owned business. The company has set a very high benchmark for our industry and we should all be inspired by its desire to keep on improving standards.

"What CJ Lang has also done, however, is show that it is not afraid to embrace change by adopting new technologies and using them to its best advantage. It is a wholesaler that is bold and confident about the future of our industry - and that truly is something to celebrate.

"Achievers encourages wholesalers to push boundaries, be innovative and challenge the perceptions of our industry as the multiple retail sector's poor relation," Salmon continued. "Indeed, the high standards and professionalism we've witnessed throughout this competition confirm to our suppliers that our sector is a force to be reckoned with.

"It is also hugely encouraging for the SWA to see such strong support from suppliers and a genuine willingness on their part to strengthen relationships with our members."

Almost 500 people attended the Achievers gala dinner and awards presentation, hosted by broadcaster, columnist and TV presenter Cat Cubie at the Sheraton Grand, Edinburgh.




Corporate Responsibility Award, sponsored by Coca-Cola Enterprises

Winner: Bidvest 3663

Runner-up: Sutherland Brothers

Highly Commended: Gordon & MacPhail


Great Place to Work, sponsored by AG Barr

Winner: Iain Hill Ltd

Runner-up: Bidvest 3663

Highly Commended: Booker, Galashiels


Supplier Sales Executive of the Year, sponsored by Sugro

Winner: Jillian Blaney, Mondelez International

Runner-up: Lawrence Findlay of Unilever Food Solutions

Highly Commended: Linda Fraser, Nestlé First Choice


Best Delivered Operation - Foodservice, sponsored by Premier Foods

Winner: Fáilte Foods

Runner-up: William Yule and Son

Highly Commended: Dunns Food and Drinks


Best Delivered Operation - Retail, sponsored by Imperial Tobacco UK

Winner: CJ Lang & Son

Runner-up: United Wholesale (Scotland)

Highly Commended: Booker, Port Dundas


Best Delivered Operation - On-Trade, sponsored by Britvic Soft Drinks

Winner: Gordon & MacPhail

Runner-up: Sutherland Brothers

Highly Commended: Dunns Food and Drinks


Project Scotland

Winner: Diageo for its 'Learning for Life Scotland' project

Runner-up: AG Barr for its 'Best Games Ever' Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games project, which not only generated incremental sales but was also great fun for the trade and consumers

Highly Commended: JTI for its 'Win with the Winners' initiative to help over 900 symbol stores affiliated to SWA members prepare for the tobacco display ban


Employee of the Year - sponsored by Mondelez International

Winner: Fiona Seggie, business development manager at Iain Hill Ltd

Runner-up: Ross Macpherson, merchandising & project manager, United Wholesale (Scotland), Queenslie

Highly Commended: Surjeet Singh, checkout supervisor at United Wholesale Grocers, Springburn


Best Symbol Group, sponsored by Cott

Winner: Spar from CJ Lang & Son

Runner-up: Day-Today from United Wholesale (Scotland)

Highly Commended: Lifestyle from Landmark Wholesale


Best Advertising Campaign

Winner: Foster's Radler 'Good Call - Volleyball'


Best Marketing Initiative, sponsored by Taylors of Harrogate

Winner: Forteith Foodservice for its 'Becoming Scotland's Larder' scheme

Runner-up: CJ Lang & Son for its 'Shop & Win' campaign to drive footfall in its customers' Spar stores

Highly Commended: Sutherland Brothers for its campaign to increase online ordering


Best Overall Service

Winner: Whyte & Mackay

Runner-up: AG Barr

Highly Commended: Maxxium UK


Best Cash & Carry Depot, sponsored by JTI

Winner: United Wholesale Grocers, Springburn

Runner-up: United Wholesale (Scotland), Queenslie

Highly Commended is: Booker, Hamilton


2015 Champion of Champions, sponsored by Philip Morris

CJ Lang & Son