Wholesale giant Palmer & Harvey is to broadening its presence in the foodservice sector with the creation of a new company called P&H Direct – a van sales business that will service cafes, snack bars, garden centres, sandwich shops and pubs.

It will sell branded products including crisps, chocolate, soft drinks, chewing gum and key catering essentials such as coffee and tea, as well as offering impulse category advice, competitive prices and promotions.

“With an enlarged customer base now including foodservice outlets we have an exciting opportunity to build upon the success we’ve had to date to bring unbeatable service and convenience to our customers,” said P&H Direct MD Huw Davies.

The move means the wholesaler now has three van sales operations - Snacksdirect, Sweetdirect and P&H Direct.

P&H added it would launch an extended range for Snacksdirect at its annual exhibition Pro-retail later this month. It will offer the complete savoury snacks category for the first time, including the full Walkers range. P&H acquired the business from Walkers in April last year.

“With the tough economic times retailers are finding our van sales offer a quick, easy and cost-efficient way to stock up and get expert advice,” said Snacksdirect MD Chris Gott.

“The Walkers acquisition was an excellent opportunity and we can now offer a full category proposition to our customers, giving them more choice than ever before of the biggest and fastest selling brands, directly to their doors.”