Compass Group has slashed thousands of products from its ingredients line-up in a major rationalisation drive.

The catering giant has been assessing and removing duplicate lines with a view to achieving better terms and forging stronger direct links with manufacturers rather than buying through wholesalers.

Since it launched the review last year, it has cut its meat and poultry range from 5,000 to 700 products and its fruit and veg by a similar amount.

“Just looking at dairy, we were buying 69 different codes of blue cheese,” said Oliver Cock, managing director, commercial, at Compass. “The executive chefs said ‘actually, we need about five’.”

Compass is currently rationalising its dairy and ambient lines and will then move on to catering equipment to complete the review.

The exercise was made possible by an online ordering system that Compass implemented with its distribution provider Brakes.