Fine foods wholesaler Cotswold Fayre is encouraging retailers to consolidate orders and deliveries in the interests of sustainability.
Chief executive Paul Hargreaves, who set up the business 18 years ago from his cellar as a distribution hub for a few small producers in the Cotswolds, says he wants to stay true to his founding principles – to be an ethical and responsible distributor.
The company now employs 24 in the team, lists 3,000 products from 300 suppliers and has almost 2000 customers.
In 2015, it became a B Corporation – recognition for enterprises using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.
Hargreaves says there is a growing need for consolidation in the speciality food sector as the number of brands continues to increase. “We constantly seek out ways to introduce new sustainability initiatives such as encouraging retailers to consolidate the number of deliveries. Not only does this save them time and money when ordering and sorting, but also reduces their carbon footprint by taking vehicles off the road.
“Using fewer routes to market can have a massive impact financially, logistically and perhaps most importantly environmentally. To support this, we will always price-match the same products that the retailer may be buying from elsewhere.”
Three Trees Farm Shop and Café in Wiltshire has reaped the benefits of using Cotswold Fayre’s consolidation service since becoming a customer in 2012.
“When we first opened the shop we were a bit clueless and bought direct from a lot of producers,” said owner Beth McMurray, “but this meant we had to do a ridiculous amount of ordering and order a lot to meet the minimum order values. When we discovered Cotswold Fayre and saw that they listed a lot of the producers we were using, this eradicated the problem completely.
“Cotswold Fayre always has a great range of products at a good price and makes an effort to find new suppliers, meaning its offering always has something fresh and new for my customers.” McMurray also applauds the company’s personal service.
The company’s involvement in overseas projects is further evidence of its ethical stance. Since 2010, it has worked with the Bala Children’s Centre orphanage in Kenya, on a number of agricultural projects, including building a farm, to help generate income to meet the children’s needs and give the centre a more sustainable future.
The distributor is keen to encourage other businesses to focus on sustainability, including its suppliers, customers and new start-ups entering the sector. This year, Cotswold Fayre is sponsoring the Sustainable Business category of Speciality Food’s New Producer Awards. Hargreaves is on the judging panel and will be helping to choose an overall winner at the Bread & Jam Festival on 6 October 2017.
“There is a lot of work to do within the speciality food world in developing more sustainable business, and we want to support any producers developing within this area,” Hargreaves adds.
To find out more or to download Cotswold Fayre’s latest catalogue, visit the website.