By MICK WHITWORTH
Olives Et Al has written to all its independent retail stockists this week to tell them it has agreed to supply a limited range to Sainsbury supermarkets.
Co-founder Giles Henschel (pictured right) told FFD he was braced to receive complaints from some delis and farm shops but had decided to be transparent about the new tie-up, which involves only four of his company’s 400 product lines and will not cover all Sainsbury stores.
“We hummed and haahed about whether we should or should not supply Sainsbury,” he said, “but we see the added exposure as beneficial all round. More people will be familiar with the Olives Et Al brand, so when they see other products in delis – the sauces, the dressings, the nuts – there will be added recognition.”
He added: “We want more people to be familiar with the name Olives Et Al, but we are still a small company and we can’t afford to do mass consumer advertising.”
The Dorset firm – which organises the annual Deli of the Year competition to support high street independents – already quietly supplies other retail multiples as well as selling to the pub trade, airlines and other foodservice outlets.
“We try to support every sector we work in, and in the speciality trade we do that through Deli of the Year,” said Henschel. “Initiatives like that are expensive, and it’s the overall mix that allows us to do what we do.”
He continued: “Writing to all our customers was an unusual step – other speciality brands haven’t told anyone when they’ve gone into supermarkets – but I think it’s the right thing to have done.”