Andrew Roberts_

Tributes have been paid to Bidfood commercial director Andrew Roberts, who passed away of natural causes over the Easter weekend.

Roberts spent nearly 30 years in the foodservice industry, joining Booker Cash and Carry in 1994, where he was appointed buying controller.

He later became part of the Bidfood team, after Booker Foodservice was sold to Bidvest in 1999. Roberts went on to build and develop the commercial arm of the business, before being promoted to become director of buying for the wholesaler.

In 2009 he won the chairman’s award, which is given across the entire Bidvest group, and was promoted to commercial director in 2015.

Andrew Selley, CEO of Bidcorp UK, led tributes to Roberts.

“Fiercely loyal, incredibly kind and immensely supportive are just some of the many ways those who knew and loved Andrew described him,” said Selley.

“Andrew leaves a lasting legacy through his creation of Bidfood’s incredibly successful customer loyalty programme, Safari, as well as Legends, a sales incentive scheme supporting Bidfood’s key suppliers to drive volume and distribution.

“He was a larger-than-life character, well-loved and respected across the industry and amongst his peers. He will forever be famous for his compelling presentations and captivating storytelling, which made the events he was involved in so enjoyable, inspiring and memorable.

“Andrew leaves a huge hole in our Bidfood family and we will all miss him dearly. Gone too soon, he will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, Andrew.”

Federation of Wholesale Distributors chief executive James Bielby said: ”Andrew was the most helpful, supportive person you could meet. A key member of our Supplier Council, he did so much for FWD and the trade.

”Nothing was too much trouble and he really did make things happen. The last time I saw him he upbraided me for stealing his brilliant phrase about the essence of wholesale: “Sell more, to more, for more”. It’s a simple line but encapsulates the trade so well and is a fitting legacy to one of the best. A real loss.”