Food and retail consultancy targets expansion

Craig Brown and Simon Ross

Ross & Brown, the west of Scotland retail, food and drink consultancy, is targeting expansion by working in partnership with retailers, wholesalers and suppliers to secure new routes to markets for growing brands.

The consultancy, established last year by former supermarket managers Simon Ross (pictured right) and Craig Brown (pictured left), has already secured listings in 156 KeyStore convenience store outlets for the Paisley-based ice cream brand Porrelli. It has also collaborated with wholesaler JW Filshill and Scotmid to list the Perthshire fruit wine brand Cairn O’Mohr in KeyStore and Scotmid convenience stores across Scotland.

Ross, an award-winning manager who previously worked for Safeway and Sainsbury’s for 27 years, has a passion for local produce. Brown, who has 20-plus years’ experience in the retail sector, was part of a Sainsbury’s team that delivered £12m additional sales and £2.5m profit, enhancing the retailer’s Scottish market share and, indeed, achieving its highest ever market share.

“Between us, we have a very wide skills base so are in a position to work with suppliers to help secure new business, advise on new product development and also handle their marketing requirements,” said Brown. “Many small producers, in particular, are diverting all their energy into the manufacturing side of the business and don’t have the time or expertise to focus on important areas such as wider business development.”

Ross added that while the company is currently targeting food and drink suppliers north of the border, it is by no means restricted to focusing solely on Scotland. “We both have a passion for Scottish food and drink so we are keen to work with suppliers to expand distribution south of the Border and in overseas markets,” he said.

Current clients include Porrelli, Cairn O’Mohr, Ella Drinks and Supernature cold-pressed rapeseed oil.

Enzo Durante, Managing Director of Porrelli, commented: “I brought Ross & Brown on board at the start of this year. In a short period of time they have developed my existing retail accounts through their expert analysis and advice, and they have also found new sales channels for Porrelli through their extensive network of industry contacts.”

Meanwhile, Ross & Brown has built up a network of senior industry contacts and relationships with a range of multiple and convenience retailers as well as industry organisation Scotland Food & Drink.

In addition to working extensively with the Glasgow-based wholesaler JW Fillshill, Ross & Brown has collaborated with the Clydebank Co-op over the last six months to develop the retailer’s commercial store proposition by introducing Amazon and In-Post Parcel lockers to drive incremental footfall.