Walkers is believed to be about to launch a van sales service for independents. Such a move would be controversial because it could put Walkers in conflict with its cash and carry customers. But the snack food giant is believed to be pressing ahead with trials of the service, expected to go live in the middle of January. Rumours of an imminent launch have been given added weight by Walkers' recent decision to cancel a major merchandising contract. Nobody at the PepsiCo subsidiary was available for comment. But Chris Adams, chairman of P&H McLane, said he had heard the rumours. P&H is one of the country's top delivered wholesalers of snacks and has its own van sales operation. Adams said: "It's unlikely to have a significant impact on our business." Rodney Hunt, md of the Today's Group, said: "Without being aware of all the facts it's difficult to comment, but if any supplier were to set up an operation that competes with its own customers, we would take a very serious view of the matter." Putting vans into the market would allow Walkers more control over merchandising and drive penetration in the independent sector. {{NEWS }}