The figure is just shy of the £1.9m deals concluded in 2017, which set a new record for the buying group.
Fairway’s 20 members concluded deals worth £709,000 with the 39 suppliers across the two days at its latest event.
The leading buying group continued to have a focus on new product development (NPD), as well as introducing new suppliers. At its event in March, it tweaked the format slightly, without any negative impact on the results and benefits for attendees.
Richard Ellison, marketing and events manager at Fairway, said: “We have had a stunning 24 months of meet the member events, with £3.5m of deals.
“What’s been very impressive is that as a team, we have secured the right mix of encouraging sales, as well as introducing new suppliers and NPD. It’s easy to just want to focus on numbers, but we strive to offer our members insight into innovation and alternative methods for business growth and success.
“The volume of deals completed at our meet the member events is incredible.
“One of our other tweaks we rolled out in March and continued with our latest event was the format of day two. Day one still contained one-to-one speed dating-style meetings, with day two consisting of three or four wholesalers speaking to suppliers at the same time.
“We work closely with our members and suppliers to ensure our meet the member events are as successful as possible. Judging by the feedback, it’s safe to say it’s working.”
The bi-annual event was held at Drayton Manor Theme Park in Tamworth. Suppliers ranged from multinational companies such as Unilever to successful British businesses, including RH Amar, the UK’s leading importer and distributor of premium grocery brands.
Nick Williams, national account manager at Unilever Food Solutions, which was awarded supplier of the year by Fairway, said: “We really value the Fairway meet the members events. We get to deal with all the key people from the wholesalers, and we have completed lots of incremental business. We also get to talk through the numbers and figures, as well as show off new product development and discuss the show’s deals.
“Our objectives were to continue to build relationships with Fairway’s members and to ensure they receive enough support and guidance. We achieved those goals.”
RH Amar national account manager Karen Williams said: “The meet the member event hits so many people in one day.
“Having our products on show grabs attention and the format is fantastic because it’s important to taste new products, and the setting and one-to-one meetings allow this.
“The event allows you to have face-to-face conversations with key people; you cannot underestimate the power of just having a chat!”
Roger Snelling, founder and managing director of Fairway Foodservice member Q Catering, said: “The meet the member event is a key date in the diary for us.
“We get to meet dozens of suppliers across two days and having everyone in the room at once saves time throughout the year. We can also prepare ahead of each event to ensure we have as impactful a conversation as possible.”
Fairway Foodservice’s next meet the member event is on 12 and 13 March.
Fairway Foodservice is a buying and marketing organisation, which operates on behalf of wholesalers based in the UK, Ireland and Spain. Founded in 1984 by five frozen food wholesale distribution companies, it has grown from a collective turnover of £7m in 1984 to £715m in 2018.
Alongside access to Fairway Foodservice’s extensive range of products, members benefit from collective buying power on a number of lines, significant marketing support and subscription discounts to the Erudus One product specification database.
For more information on Fairway Foodservice, follow the group on Twitter @fairwayfood or visit www.fairwayfoodservice.com.
"We have had a stunning 24 months of meet the member events, with 3.5m of deals."
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