In this manufacturer close up, we speak to Gordon Lauder, managing director of Central Foods. The wholesale frozen food specialist’s head office is in Collingtree, a village located three miles from Northampton town centre.
Central Foods has carved out a reputation as a leading supplier of frozen food products and continues to go from strength to strength.
Tell me more about Central Foods
Our mission is to be a dedicated frozen food specialist, offering a one-stop shop exclusively to the foodservice sector.
We supply close to 330 frozen food wholesalers from small independents to larger national and regional wholesalers, as well as buying groups such as Caterforce, Fairway, and Sterling. We also provide products directly to larger group caterers including Wetherspoons, Wimpy, and Greene King.
Central Foods offers more routes to market than any other supplier in our sector, and we deliver more than 55,000 cases each week, with customers receiving everything from a single mixed pallet to multiple pallet drops.
What makes you stand out from your competitors?
It sounds cliché but we really do focus on the customer. Without our customers, our business does not exist – it’s as simple as that.
We service our clients and manufacturers beyond their expectations, engaging with each regularly. And we care about what happens and always go the extra mile.
All our products are consolidated within our central storage and distribution facility in Yorkshire. Our customers have one sales contact, one order point, one delivery, and one invoice – making life easier for thousands of foodservice professionals throughout the UK and abroad.
What makes your product range different?
Thanks to our mission of being a one-stop shop exclusively for the foodservice sector, our variety and range is unrivalled.
We have more than 450 product lines from burgers, poultry, and free-from items, to vegetarian, desserts, and buffet options. Consumer habits change all the time and it’s vital we help our customers spot trends and react accordingly to maximise opportunities.
We only work in partnership with the best manufacturers who either are, or have the ability to be, market leaders in their respective sectors.
In addition, we import items from Holland, France, Hungary and South America to ensure our customers have the best possible range from which to choose.
How did you find out about Erudus?
A buying group approached us when Erudus launched, asking us to trial the software and provide feedback to help develop and enhance the offering.
It was easy to see the potential from day one and we haven’t looked back.
Erudus fits perfectly into our customer-centric approach: part of this focus is our commitment to ensuring accurate technical information is readily available to meet legislative and customer requirements.
Why should foodservice businesses look at using Erudus?
Your business’ reputation is everything. If your reputation is damaged, you lose customers’ trust, which obviously has wide-reaching ramifications. For example, if you mis-declare product specifications you instantly lose credibility, and the consequences can be incredibly serious if it is allergen related.
Erudus significantly reduces the chance of human error that comes with manually inputting data. Erudus also saves us a huge amount of time, particularly as our range grows and our workload increases. If there is a new product or a change to ingredients, we update just the one system and it automatically – and instantly – updates for all our customers, too.
Central Foods has integrated its own systems into Erudus. Can you tell me more about that decision, the work involved, and the outcomes?
In a nutshell, manually updating various systems and spreadsheets for more than 450 products had become a nightmare, but it’s so much easier now.
The move happened 12 months ago. We invested about £2,000 in development but this was paid back in the first three months – the return on investment was fantastic.
With the click of a button, Erudus is updated to match the product specifications on our in-house system.
As many of our wholesale customers subscribe to Erudus, we find it far easier to communicate product specifications, updates and changes to them via this one central point. This in turn helps reduce customer enquiries and our own workload.
If you operate in the foodservice industry, you should absolutely be using Erudus.