from Alistair Price, What Price Solutions

‘cooler abuse’ is down to coke’s bosses

from Sean Brown, trainee manager, Esso

Sir; I was interested to read the article by Linda Pettit on the obvious opportunities in foodservice (The Grocer, February 28, p36). It is clear that the ever-increasing squeeze on margins and dominance by the big multiple retailers means
than food and drink suppliers must look to the foodservice sector to grow their business over the next decade.

It was refreshing to read executives from both Nestlé and The Sauce Company saying that suppliers need to take a longer term view in foodservice than retail - in many cases up to a year from the initial contact.

We help companies access the foodservice and vending markets and so often the “retail minded” sales management expect quick results.

The winning suppliers are those prepared to forge links with caterers and build long term relationships.

Sadly many food and drink suppliers have yet to adopt this attitude to the sector.
Sir; It was with amusement that I saw the article ‘Fury as Coca-Cola bans rival bottles’ (The Grocer, February 28, p60).

I recently returned to the UK from South Africa where I was an account manager with Coca-Cola for two-and-a-half years.

The reason I chuckled was that when we went through training we were always told the coolers were important strategic assets. When I returned I was shocked to see what we called ‘cooler abuse’ - in other words the opposition’s products in Coca-Cola coolers.

I tried to find out what the position was over here. I met a few representatives and was told this was not a priority. Later I also raised the question with a manager who told me that they tried to raise it but were scared to rock the boat.

In my opinion Coca-Cola and its management are to blame for what can only be described as a fiasco. Wanting to grab a slice of the market with Dasani, it is now pushing the issue big time to rid their coolers of product they previously distributed. It’s a case of closing the door after the horse has bolted, but I hope The Grocer will keep us informed.