May 26, 2024

Food wholesaler aiming for record sales at biggest ever trade fair

Harlech Food service; Luke Faux, Ceri Ann Jones, Barry Allsopp, Brittany Loughborough, Sean Kelly and Ian Edwards. Picture Mandy Jones

A fast-growing North Wales food wholesaler is forecasting record sales approaching £1 million when it stages its biggest ever annual two-day trade fair.

Harlech Foodservice’s Expo 24 at Llandudno’s Venue Cymru will see over 120 exhibitor stands and expects crowds of over 2,000 at the event on Wednesday and Thursday, March 6 and 7.

The Expo is a highlight of the year for Harlech which will showcase the range of products it supplies to restaurants, cafes and even Premiership giants as well as to schools and hospitals, museums and art galleries.

The aim is to enable suppliers to talk directly to the customer, giving them a chance to tell the story behind their product to representatives from the tourism, leisure, education and health sectors across Wales, the North West and the Midlands Harlech will also unveil its latest Trust Our Prices range of deals for its customers with prices pegged from April on over 400 products, according to Head of Purchasing Josie Swift who is organising the event.

The company has also been buoyed by a £6 million expansion plan that will create 150 new jobs.

Josie said: “We introduced Trust Our Prices last year, freezing prices on over 300 core products for the three months up to Christmas and New Year and it proved so popular we have done it again for January through March.

“Now we’re launching our third wave of Trust Our Prices and will be fixing our prices in June and it’s bigger than ever with over 400 products covering frozen, ambient food and non-food products.

“It means our customers in the hospitality and catering sectors can be confident that prices will remain pegged for the busy summer period.

“It means we’re saying to our customers in hospitality that they can go ahead and set their menus for the whole season because we can support you through those three months and their margins will remain the same.”

Harlech’s own stand will be at the heart of the event and will feature live cookery demonstrations and the chance to sample new products.

This year’s event, free to people in the trade but not open to the public, will be spread across two huge rooms at Venue Cymru and many of the stands will feature their own cookery demos as well as the chance to sample the products on show.

Exhibitors will include food giants like Kellogg’s, McCains, Young’s Seafood, Doritos, Cadbury’s, Wafflemeister and Hellman’s as well as nationally known Welsh brands such as Jones Village Bakery, Edwards the Welsh Butcher, Llaeth y Llan Village Dairy and Radnor Springs, from Knighton, in Mid Wales.

There will be a big presence from across the border as Harlech extend its reach into the North West and the Midlands and also from South Wales where the company has a distribution hub in Merthyr Tydfil and ambitions to grow.

While food and drink are the main components of the event there will also be an increased presence for suppliers of cleaning, accountancy and other ancillary services.

Josie added: “We’re also very excited about our own brand Country Range  and are keen to showcase it to our customers. It’s a core range for every food service business.

“This is a key time for them when they’re looking to set their menus for the year and we’re doing our best to help them do that with a wide core range at a strong price.

“We have compared our prices to the competition so we know we’ve got a really strong price and our customers know they can rely on that staying the same for three months.

“We’ve done all that hard work, including on allergens so if someone walks in with  gluten intolerance you will know what’s in the product and if it’s safe for them.”

Harlech operate from bases at Criccieth, in Gwynedd, Chester and Merthyr Tydfil and between the three locations, the company employs over 200 staff and runs a fleet of over 40 vehicles to deliver up to 5,000 product lines to cafés, restaurants, pubs and public sector customers across Wales, Shropshire, the Midlands and the North West.

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