The Institute of Grocery Distribution expect the value of the UK grocery and foodservice wholesale market to increase by 2.9 per cent to £26.3bn by the end of the year.
Findings from the study, Grocery and Foodservice Wholesaling 2010, show that cash and carry wholesalers performed best, increasing sales by 6.1 per cent to £10.3bn in 2009 – the fastest growth seen this decade.
The report said they benefited from growing numbers of business customers attracted by lower prices and flexibility as a source of supply.
Sales within delivered grocery wholesalers increased by 3.6 per cent to £8.8bn sustained by the continued growth of the UK convenience sector.
Delivered foodservice wholesalers were faced with the toughest challenges as consumers reined in spending on eating out, generating sales of £6.3bn, down by 1.2 per cent.
Senior business analyst Patrick Mitchell-Fox said: “Despite a tough economic climate, wholesaling remains a resilient and adaptable channel within the food and grocery industry. Many wholesalers are moving beyond their traditional boundaries by broadening their offer and extending their proposition to appeal to a wider range of customers. When more favourable times return, these operators will be well placed to benefit from the strong underlying consumer trends towards eating out, as well as convenience shopping, which remain in place.”