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Wholesale supply chain analysis - FO0439

The objective of the project is to provide a robust evidence base and analysis of the wholesale sector for fresh produce, meat and fish that will inform the GLA/NFU/Defra led study into the national expansion of the Business Development Manager Programme (BDMP). The project stages are aligned with the six areas set out in the brief that need to address.These will in places run concurrently to ensure timely project delivery

The first phase of the project will be to analyse the wholesale supply chain by carrying out an assessment and mapping of current fresh produce, fish and meat wholesaler supply chain issues and activity. A range of published papers will be reviewed (listed in section 7) as well as strategic policies and other government insights, such as the findings of the fruit and vegetable Task Force. Input from the existing BDMs is important at this stage and it is intended to hold a focus group and a critique of the London BDM performance over the last three years (facilitated by EFFP which has not been directly involved with the BDMP). Structured interviews will also be carried out with 5 supply businesses and 5 wholesalers in each of the three categories to provide some qualitative input into why they would / would not use wholesale markets. The distillation of all this information should provide an up to date analysis of wholesale supply chain issues. An interim report will be produced.

The second phase, which will be running concurrently will assess the current alternative routes to market for the three categories and understand the inter relationships within each of the supply chains. Discussions with key support organisations such as regional food groups will provide insight. A simple pictoral mapping will be produced to illustrate the alternative routes. A key element within this stage will be to evaluate the most significant wholesale markets that exist outside London and those within London as a comparative baseline. This will consider current resources and structure as well as existing supplier and wholsaler base. The aspirations of individual markets will be gleaned.
The information from phase 1 and 2 will feed into phase 3 which will be to identify areas throughout England to maximise the potential for fresh produce, fish and meat producers to engage more with wholesalers as a market for their produce. We understand some preliminary work has been undertaken and this will be utilised where possible. This phase will assess the suitability and capacity of markets to develop and identify the synergies with any existing initiatives to help this to happen. The output of this stage will be a preliminary prioritisation of areas of potential which will be discussed with the Defra steering group.

Phase 4 will consider through desk research other emerging initiatives that might link to an expanded BDM programme, such as environmental, health or social factors. There will then be a consultation with a wide range of agri-food industry stakeholders to determine how an enhanced programme of wholesale marketing, possibly involving BDMs around the country may fit with their priorities and obtain their ideas as to the role. This is a very important stage as it will or will not secure industry wide support and buy in to maximise the benefit and cost effectiveness of an enhanced programme.

Phase 5 will examine the the opportunities and challenges that an expansion of BDMP activity might present. Resourcing and building long term commercial sustainability will be a key consideration but there will be other spin offs, hopefully largely positive that should be evaluated. This will link to phase 6 which will consider from a range of existing research data what the consumer response might be and how those consumer responses may be positively influenced, including healthy eating.

The report will be prepared in draft for presentation and discussion with Defra before being finalised.

We believe we have the optimum project team. EBS Consulting has had major involvement with and thus understanding of the wholesale market sector since it started in 2008. EBS has overseen the existing BDM programme and has insight into the challenges in making this type of initiative work but also the benefits that can be achieved.

Knowledge of the fish sector will be contributed by Seafish, the non governmental organisation respresenting the fishing industry. The route to market for freshly landed and imported fish is varied and complex with significant regulatory control particularly at landing. Their expertise and network of contacts will provide the vital input to the wholesale fish sector.
EFFP has a wealth of knowledge on supply chain issues and will bring a balanced market wide perspective in evaluating the potential opportunities, particularly in how wholesale markets fit in the wider picture from both suppliers/producers and consumers. It has undertaken many projects for Defra over its 8 year existence, most recently with both the Fruit and Vegetable Task Force and Pig Task Force, evaluating the challenges and opportunities facing these supply chains. It has an excellent track record of delivery and project management.

7. (b) Objectives

The proposed objectives and methodology for this research project will focus on delivering robust, evidence based assessments and information that will supplement and integrate with the work already commissioned by Defra into the development of the expansion of the Business Development Manager Programme (BDMP) across England (BDMP Continuation Strategy). It is vital that this research project provides realistic, practical information, within the appropriate timescale, that will assist with the development of the BDMP Continuation Strategy.

In summary, the proposed study objectives and outputs are as follows:

Study phase Study objective Outputs from study phase that will inform the decision making process in considering the expansion of the BDMP across the country and provide information that will assist in securing resources for it.
1 Undertake an assessment of current fresh produce, fish and meat wholesale supply chain issues in England. A comprehensive analysis of the factors and market failures and the experience of the BDMP in helping address these issues.
2 Map and analyse the structural set up of these wholesale sectors and supply chains across England and their inter-relationships with the country’s other food supply chains. This will include an assessment of imports and exports, different production methods and seasonality issues. Quantification of the relative size and value of the markets will be provided and case studies will be included covering street markets, small retail shops, catering and public procurement. A detailed, evidence based mapping and assessment of fresh produce, fish and meat wholesale supply chains in England, including the activity of the wholesale markets inside and outside London. This will inform the potential nature and extent of the expansion of the BDMP

3 Identify areas throughout England where there are the opportunities to maximise the potential for fresh produce, fish and meat producers to engage more with wholesalers as a market for their produce. A robust, quantified geographic and sectoral options analysis that will inform the prioritisation of targets and resources for the potential expansion of the BDMP

4 Identify potential synergies and opportunities with existing and emerging initiatives that could impact on these wholesale sectors. An assessment of fresh produce, fish and meat sector priorities and initiatives currently being pursued by other bodies at a regional, national and European level that could impact on the development and implementation of an expanded BDMP in strategic, operational and resource opportunity terms.
5 Identify potential opportunities and challenges to extending fresh produce, fish and meat wholesale sales across England as part of the expansion of the BDMP. This will include an assessment of unexpected trade-offs.
A SWOT analysis of the potential impacts the implementation of the expanded BDMP could have on fresh produce, fish and meat wholesale sales across England. This will include a summary HMT Green Book economic impact assessment.
6 Consider the role of consumers in extending the wholesale market.
An assessment of consumer attitudes and behaviour towards purchasing seasonal and local fresh produce, fish and meat and an analysis of critical measures that have been successfully undertaken to positively influence purchasing behaviour patterns for sustainable food.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : Defra Evidence Project FO0439Final Report   (1418k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendices[1]   (958k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2011

To: 2011

Cost: £39,225
Contractor / Funded Organisations
EBS Consulting Ltd, English Farming and Food Partnerships (EFFP)
Resource efficient and resilient food chain              
Sustainable Farming and Food Science              
Fields of Study
Resource Efficient and Resilient Food Chain