Sugro UK has set up a new buying group for smaller snacks, soft drinks and confectionery wholesalers.

Acorn will support wholesalers that have annual impulse turnover of £3m or less and are too small to strike decent terms with suppliers.

Sugro MD Philip Jenkins said the buying group would help wholesalers compete with bigger rivals.

"There are many wholesalers in the developmental stage of their business who require the strength and support of a buying and marketing group," he said. "We believe this is an exciting opportunity for any wholesaler wanting to grow their business and improve their overall turnover and profitability with a strong over-rider and promotional platform, backed by Sugro's experience."

Sugro UK had received more than 40 applications for Acorn and would soon move to the second phase of recruitment, said Jenkins.

A central distribution service has also been launched for wholesalers without direct accounts with suppliers or that do not get the terms advantages needed to grow.

Meanwhile, Jenkins admitted Sugro had struggled to recruit retailers to its Sugro Convenience symbol group, launched in May, because retailers were unwilling to pay for new fascias.

"It is surprising how many retailers wish everything to be free of charge and seem horrified and reluctant if a contribution is required," he said.

Sugro reported an 11% increase in sales for the first half of the year. Jenkins predicted this would decrease to around 6% for the full-year, but said this would still be ahead of the market.