Launched at Speciality & Fine Food Fair, a 2018 Speciality Market Report has been published offering unique insights into the UK artisan food and drink industry.
Based on what the report calls ‘bespoke research’, it indicates that speciality food and drink outlets could be missing out on potential double-digit growth from the UK’s ‘burgeoning’ e-commerce market.
The report highlights that more than half (53%) of independent retailers don’t sell online, with a further 35% of those stating they have ‘no intention’ of pursuing digital trade.
Outlining cases where digital commerce has been embraced by retailers and caterers, the report says 75% have noticed boosted sales and have attracted new customers; a further 15% of those report that sales have risen by more than 40% in the past 18 months.
The findings were presented as part of a drive to provide the food and drink sector with a snapshot of a thriving industry’, including ‘what makes it tick’ and where the ‘lion’s share of profits’ come from.
Owners are not content to sit back, but can see the enormous benefits of offering their customers experiences that are just not possible in a typical high-street retailer
It also highlights how ‘diversifying’ can help grow sales and expand customer reach is also examined: 68% of those polled have diversified, with 36% reporting that sales increased ‘significantly’. The installation of free in-store Wi-Fi and hosting regular events emerged as some of the key contributing factors to business growth.
Soraya Gadelrab, event director, Speciality & Fine Food Fair, produced the report. “While our research highlights areas where businesses could be capitalizing more, it also paints a picture of how entrepreneurial our industry is. Owners are not content to sit back, but can see the enormous benefits of offering their customers experiences that are just not possible in a typical high-street retailer. We believe the report offers revealing insights into the day-to-day workings of this multi-billion-pound market that we hope everyone will find useful to their own businesses,” she says.
Touching upon the ‘thornier issue of Brexit’, the report found 56% of independents believe Britain’s departure from the EU will drive up wholesale prices; 47% said they are prepared to pass some of that on to customers. Although anticipating uncertain times ahead, 50% claim not to be making any immediate changes to the way they do business, preferring to ‘wait and see’ how things pan out, while 30% admit they are already sourcing more UK products.