Bidvest Foodservice

Committed to excellence

Embodying a passion for great food, Bidvest Foodservice works in partnership with its clients to deliver world-class cuisine across a variety of foodservice markets

Since first beginning operation as 3663 in 1999 when the Bidvest Group acquired Booker Foodservice, Bidvest Foodservice has grown as a leading partner in the delivery of service excellence and bidvest-121-bhigh-quality ingredients to clients throughout the food industry. The company has a vision to be the world’ best foodservice provider and operates according to its mission to deliver service excellence, make life easier and to help its customers grow. Bidvest Foodservice was previously featured in FoodChain during February 2016, after the company had completed a rebranding and a cultural change programme and put in a new strategy to transition the business. Following this change, Bidvest Foodservice has continued to grow and further establish its presence in line with the changing demands of the foodservice sector and its clients.

“Since then the Bidvest Group has decoupled itself and now operates as the Bidvest Group Limited (conglomerate), based mainly in South Africa and the BidCorp foodservice business that trades internationally. This was part of a strategic plan to develop the Bidvest organisation as a whole,” elaborates Bidvest Foodservice Group Sales & Marketing Director, Andy Kemp. “The most important thing Bidvest Foodservice has is our customer focus and we ensure that our clients really do come first within our business. We invest a lot of time and money into really understanding what our customers want and have recently appointed a Head of Insight & Customer Experience, Sarah Whiddett, who joined us from Waitrose. Sarah’s role is exclusively to help us examine and measure levels of customer experience. As a result of this commitment we have won a host of awards during 2016, which underpin our mission to provide the best levels of customer service. In July 2016 for example, we scooped the ‘Best Wholesaler’ accolade at the ‘him!’ awards and we have been noted as having the best ‘Wholesaler Telestaff’ by a network of 10,000 operators across the UK. In November we also received the Bronze Green Apple award for our sustainability credentials, and at the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) Awards we won the Service to Caterers, Green Wholesaler, Wholesale Driver and Young Wholesaler awards.”

Responding to trends
Further to continuing to monitor its relationships with the company’s clients, Bidvest Foodservice is also quick to respond to the changing trends and emerging demands of the food industry. Across the foodservice market healthy options and ‘cleaneating’ trends are increasing in demand from both consumers and service industry clients and Bidvest Foodservice is addressing this with products such as wheat free and dairy free snack foods including ‘hippeas’ – organic chickpea puffs, which are growing in popularity. This is backed by a growth in popularity of new and existing cuisines from around the world as they appear in the UK market, while at the same time consumers are also expressing an interest in locally sourced goods. “We are beginning to observe a growth in the backing of British products, which is equally contrasted with a move towards South America, Mexican, Caribbean and Hawaiian foods with techniques such smoking and barbequing. Previously there has been an oriental burst in the market, which was all about the Far Eastern, Chinese and Japanese foods, which is now also moving towards Korean and Asian street food,” Andy says. “There are several ways that we are able to keep ahead of the trends appearing in the market, but one of the advantages of being a global business with offices in China, Singapore, Malaysia, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and throughout Europe, is that it is very easy for us to look at trends globally. We also undertake our own research into new foods and take part in things like the National Restaurant Association (NRA) show and travelling out to the US to do food studies there. Our buyers are category champions that help us to remain on the leading edge – certainly we like to think that we deliver more innovation into the market than anybody else.”

Clients in control
Indeed, innovation is at the core of the Bidvest Foodservice business with a continuously evolving product portfolio that is developed through constant collaboration with the company’s clients and bidvest-121-cindustry partners. However, further to ensuring a rich and varied choice of food options, Bidvest Foodservice also developed a comprehensive online ordering system that enables its clients to have specialist control of their product inventories. The increasing introduction of digital technology is an invaluable tool for both Bidvest Foodservice and its clients in keeping track of an incredibly robust and dynamic food industry. “Bidvest Direct represents our latest online e-trading platform that allows orders to be processed 24-7 from any smart device. It also includes a reporting facility that allows the client to look at baskets, information, order forms, ingredients, nutritional value and even live stock levels and live pricing information. These are extremely valuable tools for our clients,” Andy reveals. “We believe that the foodservice market is incredibly strong at present and that away-from-home eating concepts are huge. For example, you only need to look at the coffee culture today in comparison to the market ten years go. Coffee shops today offer a vast variety of blends and increasing varieties of morning goods. I think the market is very strong and will continue to grow, meaning that it is important for wholesalers to provide value for money and to work in a partnership with clients to reach a better understanding of their needs.”

Industry collaboration
Bidvest Foodservice works in close collaboration with the foodservice industry and its clients through initiatives such as its ‘plate2planet’ scheme, which promotes both industry innovations and sustainability. Partner businesses in industry-leaders such as Unilever, Premier Foods, Delifrance UK, Vegware, Planet First and Jacobs Douwe Egberts all work in collaboration to promote sustainability for partner businesses, clients and the industry as a whole. With the Christmas period fast approaching, Bidvest Foodservice continues to employ all of its strengths to provide a marketleading package of food options to achieve fantastic results, as Andy concludes: “The Christmas period is incredibly important for us, as it is for operators across the food market. It is a busy time where you will find that even clients with fixed costs, such as government-funded bodies, will still provide a Christmas dinner. We don’t work from fixed menus across our Christmas range and instead provide a massive selection of products that meet the requirements of the entire market. For example our fresh turkey sales are already up around 250 per cent on what they were this time last year and we have increased the scope of our selection of buffet items. The Christmas package that we have developed this year has been incredibly well received by our clients and we already know that we will have the best Christmas that we have ever had.”