Wedded to the brand ideal General Food Trading Retail Division 3 Viveash Close Hayes Middlesex UB3 4RY Tel: 020 88487555 Fax: 020 88487557 E-mail: KEY PERSONNEL General manager Steve Pezzack Sales director Mick Wroe Sales & marketing manager David Backshall Head of marketing Malcolm Carter Key Brands - Libby's canned fruit - Stubb's barbecue sauce & marinades - Ashoka ­ Indian - Thai Delight ­ Thai - Cantina Mexicana ­ Tex Mex -Grace ­ Caribbean - OLE ­ South American Hot sauces - Café Ice ­ iced coffee - Enjoy ­ fruit nectar As superpowers Nestlé and Unilever broke up their portfolio of tardy performers during a dramatic turn on the world retail stage last year, new brand partnership company GFT stood waiting expectantly in the wings. It was rewarded with Libby's canned fruit from Nestlé in December and declares that, with the focus on building ever more powerful global brands, brokers have never had it so good. "Libby's is an extremely well known brand with a dedicated following," says GFT general manager Steve Pezzack, "but we were able to identify underdeveloped areas and increase Libby's market share in a short space of time. We have already launched three new 200g Summer Fruit lines ­ Blackberries, Berry Fruits, and Red & Black Currants in a dessert sauce which is perfect for ice-cream and pancakes. A great selection of exotic fruits will be available from September. And there are now a number of other brands we are looking at bringing on board." Supplying all the major UK supermarket chains, symbol groups and C&Cs, GFT focuses on four main categories: canned fruit, ethnic foods, barbecue sauces and marinades, and drinks. "Our main focus to date has been barbecue sauces with the UK's leading authentic barbecue sauce, Stubb's," says sales director Mick Wroe. But it has recently developed a portfolio of ethnic products with the aim of securing a sizeable chunk of the Indian, Thai, Tex Mex and Caribbean categories, with a combined value estimated to be worth £540m in the UK. Stubb's has gained listings in all the major supermarkets for the third consecutive year. "Stubb's barbecue sauces are clear category champions in this sector with the marinades in particular becoming an all year round listing with a number of major accounts," says Wroe. Future activity surrounding the brand will include in store tastings, specific barbecue features in retailers' magazines and a Stubb's website featuring stockists details, recipe ideas and tips on throwing a great barbie. Wroe believes that as the major multiples cut prices on every day "Known Value Items" food brokers have become even more important to them if they are to increase margins. "Food brokers are introducing authentic and exciting products to the market from around the world, which is giving the consumer more choice and the supermarket added value and a real point of difference," he says. "The multiple sector has seen a dramatic change over the last five years, and this change will continue with the rationalisation of the multiples' supplier base and ECR. Brand partners, such as GFT Retail Division, are ideally positioned to manage this change, keep ahead of market trends and, in most cases, take the hassle factor out of the supply chain with our logistics expertise." But C-stores also have an important part to play in the jigsaw. "With the multiples cornering the typical one-stop shop market, the C-stores realise the potential of consumer trends and the need to have a point of difference with focus on choice, value and availability," says Wroe. "We can bring value to this sector, by sharing our expertise and buying power to enable the convenience stores to compete on a level playing field." GFT believes partnership with the principals is crucial to the success of any new brand in the UK market. "It gives the brands we are working with the knowledge and comfort that we are committed on a long-term basis," says Pezzack. "This will become key to the future of any brokerage company in achieving real success. "Brand partnership is like a good marriage, based on commitment, understanding and communication ­ all of which are paramount in our organisation." {{Z SUPPLEMENTS: BROKERAGE }}