Ed Bedington
Independent retailers are being offered a tailored solution to boost their range and sales of fresh produce.
Nisa has introduced two schemes to enable smaller retailers to maximise their fresh produce offering.
In conjunction with its suppliers, the buying group has launched a field service and sales development team to give advice and information to members.
Andrew Hirst, buying controller for fresh produce, said: "Our suppliers are putting people out on the road, going out to give advice to our members. It's not us giving a hard sell, but people who know the industry from the sharp end."
He said the scheme, which launched three weeks ago, is already proving popular and his biggest challenge now is meeting the demand.
Nisa has also launched a new range of fresh produce to help smaller retailers compete in the tough marketplace.
A compact range of Heritage own label fresh produce, both loose and pre-packed, is now being provided in smaller case sizes. The aim, Hirst said, was to allow the smaller operators to order little and often and avoid wastage problems. "They don't want 18 kilos of Granny Smith, as they'll end up wasting 2 kilos so we're offering a six kilo pack."
The range comprises around 50 different products, with the majority pre-packed, and includes everything from salads to speciality mushrooms and apples and oranges.
Hirst said: "It gives the retailers more confidence with fresh produce. If they're always ordering with the fear of wastage, they're never going to grow their offering.
"The smaller case sizes mean that independent retailers can offer a delicious, attractive and compact range with a limited amount of wastage."