It has been announced that the foodservice consortium Country Range Group is to leave the Unitas wholesale buying group by mutual agreement as of 1 January 2021. Country Range became a member of Unitas due to its legacy as a member of the Landmark buying group, which merged with Today’s in 2018 to create Unitas.
Divergence over focus on driving standalone activity plans
Country Range Group is itself a group of independent businesses, comprising 13 regionally based foodservice wholesalers aligned around an agenda, key to which is the ongoing development of a private label range that meets their specific needs in servicing a similar range of customers. Unitas meanwhile is a much larger (160 plus members), broader-based group, including a wide variety of wholesalers, that even in the foodservice channel encompasses businesses with notably differing customer groups. Clearly this can make it difficult to identify and pursue common goals, so now the two groups have decided that they can best pursue their specific interests separate from one another.
In a joint statement Darren Goldney, managing director of Unitas, and Coral Rose, managing director of The Country Range Group commented:
‘Following a joint review, we have recognised we largely already operate as discrete entities with differing sales and marketing programmes appropriate to the needs of our respective members. Upon evaluating our individual programmes, we have now concluded we are better served continuing to develop our stand-alone activity plans that suit our respective members and give absolute clarity for our supplier partners on the wholesale estates we individually influence… We plan to remain very close as two groups and will continue to explore strategic and joint opportunities where appropriate, and where they can deliver value to all parties.’