A new directory for the Scottish wholesale food and drink sector has been created by the Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) to help local and regional producers connect with wholesalers that can work with them to find new routes to market.

The new online portal – www.scottishwholesaledirectory.co.uk – forms part of the SWA’s wider work to develop wholesale as a primary route to market for all producers, some of which have not previously engaged with the sector or considered it as a potential growth generator.

The next phase of the SWA’s ongoing Delivering Growth Through Wholesale (DGTW) programme – launched in 2021 to educate and engage with producers on the opportunities provided by wholesale – the directory is easy to use and allows producers to search for wholesalers that best fit their needs or product offering.

Colin Smith, SWA chief executive, said: “Our new directory lists all SWA wholesale members in in one convenient place and is designed to help producers and suppliers identify the wholesaler that is the ‘best fit’ for their business.

“It’s an excellent tool set up with filters to enable producers to focus on a particular product category, market sector and geographical region – it’s a valuable resource for producers who are ready to develop and grow their business to the next level, whether that’s at local, regional or national level.

“This is the first time that there has been a ‘one stop shop’ directory of Scottish food and drink wholesalers and its premise is quite simple: find the wholesale distributor that fits your product category, distributes in the markets and regions that fit your brand, and offers the support to build your sales.

“It’s a toolkit that can even drill down to the very specific needs of a restaurant, for example, that is looking for a local seafood or meat supplier.”

SWA has been working, in partnership, on its Delivering Growth Through Wholesale programme, which also provides participating producers and suppliers with a one-to-one mentoring support session to ensure their business is wholesale ready, with SAOS (Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society) and Scotland Food & Drink, supported by the Scottish Government.

“It’s important that we collaborate with other parts of the food and drink industry in order to improve ways of working with and in the wholesale sector,” said Mr Smith. “Ultimately, we want to create a stronger and more sustainable Scottish food and drink supply chain.

“As part of the programme to identify local sourcing opportunities for wholesalers and local producers – helping them to access new markets – we have also launched our Wholesale Local Food Champion training programme which encourages Scotland’s wholesalers to appoint an individual to take responsibility for shaping the local sourcing strategy within their business.

“The response from the industry has been excellent and our goal is to see wholesalers nominate at least one individual within their business to be trained to become a Wholesale Local Food Champion who will then have an excellent knowledge and understanding of the importance of a strong, local food and drink supply chain – and become a point of contact for suppliers to start engaging with that business.