that's vital
RH Amar, the fine food broker with an outstanding reputation for building up other people's speciality food brands, has finally decided to launch one of its own.
The launch of the Cooks&Co range demonstrates there are still speciality food niches waiting to be exploited.
Chief executive David Mellor says: "We could see gaps in the market and wanted to fill them by pulling together suppliers who would not otherwise have the critical mass.
"Our range will be products which take the market forward, but which are linked to categories that are already successful."
Amar has a good track record achieving the balance vital to succeed in speciality foods.
"We have to gauge which products and which suppliers offer the best quality and will allow us to take the market forwards," says Mellor. "We need to be innovative while offering the supermarkets the margins and benefits they expect."
Getting any part of this equation wrong can lead to disaster ­ as rival John Lusty Group found when it went into receivership, largely because of margin pressure at Trustin Unimerchants.
The grocers' fixation with low prices means some are focusing on speciality products such as balsamic vinegars ­ now selling for as little as 99p.
Such trends bewilder Mellor. "Speciality food is a real opportunity for retailers to balance any loss of cash margin caused by EDLP with premium products. Why rip the heart out of it by offering a 99p balsamic vinegar?"

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