Achievers rewards Scotland’s wholesalers, suppliers, people and collaboration

Scotland's most innovative, forward-thinking and resilient wholesalers have been recognised and rewarded by the industry at the annual Scottish Wholesale Achievers Awards

Industry news
Published: 23/02/2024

Scotland's most innovative, forward-thinking and resilient wholesalers have been recognised and rewarded by the industry at the annual Scottish Wholesale Achievers Awards.

Achievers, now in its 21st year and organised by the Scottish Wholesale Association, highlights excellence across all sectors of the wholesale industry and the achievements that have made a difference to individuals, communities and businesses over the last year.

Some 520 guests attended the Achievers gala dinner and awards presentation, hosted by TV sports presenter Amy Irons, at the O2 Academy Edinburgh, on Thursday, 22 February.

Wholesaler categories up for grabs incorporated retail, foodservice, licensed, technology and community-focused sectors – while there was also an award for the wholesaler deemed Great Place to Work.

Recognising the importance of people within the wholesale industry, Achievers shone a spotlight on the many individuals who play such an integral part in the success of wholesale and supplier businesses with awards for Rising Star of Wholesale and Employee of the Year.

Wholesalers had an opportunity to impress the judges with their Best Marketing Initiative, show how they are involved at local level in the Community Service Award category, and demonstrate their commitment to the environment in the Sustainable Wholesaler of the Year category.

In a new award for Achievers 2024 – Best Innovation – the judges pored over a wide diversity of submissions and in most cases, wholesalers’ innovations were driven largely by the need to adapt what they do to manage and retain business growth.

Suppliers were also recognised for their support of the wholesale sector with awards in categories including Best Overall Service, Best Foodservice Supplier and Local Supplier of the Year.

Recognising the relationships that wholesalers forge with suppliers, Achievers also rewarded individuals in the Supplier Sales Executive of the Year category.

The Local Supplier of the Year award, launched in 2023, complements the SWA’s Delivering Growth Through Wholesale (DGTW) programme, which was  designed in conjunction with SAOS and Scotland Food & Drink, and supported by the Scottish Government, with entrants showing how they have implemented new processes to help support Scottish producers hoping to supply their business.

This year, the judges presented the accolade to Mark Don of Braehead Foods with his commitment to making himself available to producers – and his passion for the value that local sourcing brings to the Kilmarnock-based business – sealing the deal.

Multiple winners on the night included CJ Lang & Son – picking up Best Delivered Operation – Retail, Best Symbol Group, and Community Service Award while Faílte Foods claimed Best Delivered Operation – Foodservice and Employee of the Year for Paul Ellwood, senior buyer.

United Wholesale (Scotland) won Best Cash & Carry for its depot in Queenslie, Glasgow and Best Licensed Wholesaler.

Two categories were claimed by Brakes Scotland with Kelsey Brannan, area sales manager, a popular winner of Rising Star of Wholesale and the wholesaler also picking up Best Marketing Initiative for its enhanced loyalty scheme, My Brakes Rewards.

Bidfood, meanwhile, won the Best Innovation category for its new portal where chefs can create menus, calculate margin, provide full allergen traceability and order products.

For Booker, it was the wholesaler’s commitment to best practice across the three pillars of sustainability – environmental, social and economic – that saw it clinch Sustainable Wholesaler of the Year.

Finally, Great Place to Work went to Costco, with the winner chosen because its approach to employee welfare sets it apart as a model employer. The judges said Costco “fosters a nurturing and supportive work environment” and offers “clear career progression pathways, a friendly and inclusive workplace culture, and comprehensive benefits and rewards”.

Celebrating the support of suppliers to the wholesale industry and recognising the great people who work for them, Achievers crowned Budweiser Brewing Group’s Tiffany Emmett the Supplier Sales Executive of the Year.

The Local Supplier of the Year award, presented by Richard Lochhead MPS, Minister for Small Business, Innovation, Tourism and Trade, went to Perthshire-based Clootie McToot with the depth of entries in this category showcasing the innovation and quality of Scotland’s food and drink.

The winner scored maximum points not only for those aspects, but also for its understanding of the Scottish wholesale channel, their local roots, and marketing and ecommerce activities.

Meanwhile, long-time wholesale channel supporter, soft drinks firm AG Barr, won Project Scotland for the launch of its PWR-BRU big can energy range – fulfilling its aim to drive incremental sales and profits by offering retailer incentives, driving excellent execution in depot, and investing in wide-ranging consumer activity.

Best Overall Service, one of the most coveted awards in Achievers, involves wholesaler members of the SWA voting each month over a four-month period for the shortlisted suppliers – with JTI coming out on top.

In the Best Foodservice Supplier category, judged on the same principles, the award went to Mrs Tilly’s.

And in a fun segment of Achievers, attendees watched five TV ads shortlisted by wholesalers across Scotland with the Best Advertising Campaign going to Tennent’s – Raised in Scotland – OOOFT.

SWA chief executive Colin Smith said: “Achievers has evolved since its launch 21 years ago and I am proud that it remains one of the premier wholesale industry events in the UK – so a huge thank you to all the wholesalers who took time out of their busy schedules to enter the awards and meet the judges.

“We stand out because Achievers has retained its clear point of difference as the only awards scheme for the wholesale industry which has an independent judging panel. It is this transparency, and our willingness to listen to feedback from wholesalers and our supporting suppliers alike, that gives us a high standing in our sector.

“Of course, without our suppliers there would be no Achievers and that is why this prestigious event is as much for them as it is our wholesalers. It’s all about people and collaboration – and Scotland’s wholesale industry thrives on relationships.

“I’ve spoken before about how resilient wholesale is and you don’t need me to remind you of the challenges we have faced in recent years – and more recent issues that certainly don’t make running a wholesale business any easier.

“So, it’s only right that we celebrate our industry – whether it’s retail, hospitality, tourism, sustainability, economic transformation, or health and wellbeing – with the SWA’s wholesale and supplier members but also our colleagues and partners from across industry, and from within the Scottish Government.”

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