Alistair Price, Managing Director of WPS, which he describes as the only sales agency specifically focused on the vending and coffee service sectors, is insisting that, although people are cutting back in 2009, consumers will still need food and drink.
In terms of the vending sector, both new and current suppliers are seeking more cost effective ways of selling their products. Many are not taking on full-time sales executives and are approaching companies like WPS to represent them, as a better value and quicker way of getting their products to market.
Those who have opted to use WPS include Doves Farm Foods and Percy Daltons Famous Peanut Co. Doves Farm Foods is a leader in the fair trade and organic snack market, which recognises vending as an ideal channel for its added value flapjacks and cereal bars.
Percy Daltons is in a market where there is continued interest in ‘healthier snacks’. This sector is predicted to grow by over 1 per cent per year by volume for the foreseeable future. Its range includes chocolate covered raisins and peanuts, as well as yoghurt raisins, which some may describe as semi indulgent – the latter being the fastest growing in the sector.
WPS has been joined by Martyn Herriott, recently of Barry Callebaut, to help establish these and other brands represented by the company in the south (including Harrogate Spa, Thirsty Planet Charity water, Bendicks – Chewits and Werthers Original – and Coburg Coffee).
As well as predicting a challenging and productive year ahead, Alistair comments that WPS now needs to be selective about the companies it represents, in order to avoid conflicts of interest, and to give the right level of focus to each brand.