The new chairman of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors has hailed the sector as “the lifeblood of a million SMEs”.

Speaking at the FWD’s Gold Medal Awards last week in London, Guy Farrant, MD of Booker Wholesale, who became chairman in October, said: “This sector is an important route to market for suppliers and is the lifeblood of a million SMEs - cafés, restaurants, shops, caterers, bars and clubs.

“It’s not just products we offer them - it’s business advice, our experience and expertise, merchandising help, category intelligence, peer-to-peer contact and credit. They in turn provide vital facilities to communities across the country.”