Foodservice giant 3663 plans to compete with cash & carries by striking up deals to supply small delivered wholesalers. As part of a new trial scheme, 3663 First For Foodservice will for the first time allow its regional foodservice competitors to sell its produce, while it takes a share of the profits.

The system would benefit the food giant because its huge lorries were not always able to cost-effectively serve small companies such as take-aways and pubs, which sometimes needed small drops at short notice, said Norman Wemyss, 3663’s freetrade sales and business development director.

Some of these small businesses were served by tiny wholesalers that may operate just one van, but sourced their products from various cash & carries. As much as a third of the market was catered for by small wholesalers with vans, so the scheme’s potential was huge, he said.

“We have two agreements ready to go and we hope to run trials in a major city shortly,” he said. “Small operators can respond more quickly than we can and they have a lower cost base. We would be able to offer a service to the sector that’s currently fed by cash & carries.”