The UK grocery wholesale market has grown to £15.3bn in 2000, an increase of 1.3% on 1999, according to new IGD research published today in Grocery Wholesaling 2001.  This is mainly due to a strong performance from the delivered trade market, which registered growth of 5.2%.

The UK Grocery Wholesale Market Size 1990-2000

At current growth rates delivered trade will overtake cash & carry in terms of turnover between 2006 and 2007.  Cash & carry declined 1.1% since 1999 yet still remained 51% larger than the delivered sector.

The UK Grocery Wholesale Market Size 2000-2007

The differing growth rates can be explained by looking at each sector’s customer base.  In both cases the greater proportion of customers are independent retailers, many of them seeking added value from their wholesaler e.g. in the form of IT support.  In addition increasing numbers of independent retailers are joining symbol groups, the majority of which are run by delivered operators, thus favouring the growth of the delivered wholesale sector. 

Tobacco continues to be the largest contributor to sales, accounting for over 39% of turnover for cash & carry and over 30% for delivered trade.  This is because tobacco products are ideally suited to convenience retailing, being light, ambient and high value.  Also, customers like the convenience of local stores.  

Other convenience products such as general grocery, BWS, confectionery and soft drinks make up the majority of other sales.  Fresh foods account for a relatively small proportion because it is difficult to distribute them to convenience stores and many consumers prefer to purchase these products from major multiples.

For further information please contact Jane Whiteley, tel: 01923 851917, mobile 07802 437579, Jane Beard, tel: 01923 851910, mobile 07770 640448 or Catherine Ellwood, tel: 01923 851916. 


  1. Grocery Wholesaling 2001 is available from IGD priced at £500 for Members and £650 for Non-Members.  To order contact Michelle Jarman on 01923 851925 or via email on  Alternatively, why not visit the IGD website and order on line
  2. IGD is the leading research and education organisation for the food and grocery industry.  Its membership is drawn from the total grocery supply chain, including retail, manufacturing, wholesale, distribution, catering, packaging companies and primary producers.  IGD also has close links with consumer organisations.