Venerable food and drink wholesaler to ramp up sales operation after hiring coup

A Scottish food wholesaler with roots stretching back almost 150 years is to “significantly step up” its sales operation after making a key strategic hire.

Dunns Food and Drinks has scored a major coup after appointing former Braehead Foods commercial director Ed Faber as its new head of sales.

The appointment of Faber, who has also worked for consumer goods giant Unilever, and has spent more than 35 years in the industry, is seen as a key part of Dunns’ strategy to ramp up its sales operation.

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His initial focus will be on growing the group’s food offering, which he believes represents a “massive and exciting” opportunity for the business, particularly as the industry recovers from the pandemic.

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Founded in 1875 as a soft drinks firm, Glasgow-based Dunns Food and Drinks has since grown to become one of Scotland’s top delivery wholesalers with a large portfolio of food, beers, wines and spirits from around the world, supplying some 2,000 customers across the country.

Operations director Julie Dunn said: “This is an important appointment and a key element in our strategy to ramp up our food operation. Ed is one of the best in the business and joins an already fantastic team.

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“Ed has hit the ground running and has already set the wheels in motion on initiatives that will be crucial to the next stages of Dunns’ development.”

Faber spent almost 15 years heading up Scotland and Northern Ireland foodservice sales at US multinational BestFoods, which included taking on the Republic of Ireland operation following its global merger with Unilever in 2000.

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Dunns Food and Drinks has appointed former Braehead Foods commercial director Ed Faber as its new head of sales. Picture: Stewart Attwood

He left Unilever for Braehead Foods in 2014, where he moved from national account controller to being appointed to the board as commercial director.

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Faber said: “The opportunity to drive the evolution of Dunns Food and Drinks food operation really excites me. There is a massive amount of experience internally - and I want to add some more flair to the food side of the business.

“Dunns Food and Drinks has been around for 147 years, and the knowledge and expertise in warehousing and logistics is phenomenal.”

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He added: “I expect the industry to recover to pre-pandemic levels within 12 months, but we are essentially facing three crises within a few years - pandemic, Brexit, Ukraine war - each hitting the industry in different ways.

“It’s had a catastrophic effect on our industry, which is slowly picking itself back up but is still far from where it needs to be. There is hesitancy to ask consumers en masse to return to eating out-of-home, as certain segments of the marketplace are still nervous to be in crowded indoor spaces.

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“From a competition perspective, there are wholesalers who are no longer there, which were a few years ago, so that creates a more open field. What we are going to try and do is help operators get back on their feet, particularly those who want to serve food outdoors.

“We’ve had an increase in recent enquiries from operators looking to serve food outdoors, particularly casually. We are looking at how we can create innovative food options that support that industry shift.”

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