Divisional reviews

Bidfood logo
United Kingdom

Financial capital

Trading profit

Manufactured capital

Product segmentation (%) Market segmentation (%)

  2018 2017
Frozen 29 30
Chilled 26 26
Ambient 36 35
Non-food 9 9
  2018 2017
Logistics 3 4
Chain 57 57
Independent 39 38
Retail 1 2


Own brand 19%

of 2018 divisional revenue

Pictured: ‘Everyday Favourites’ an example
of Bidfood UK own brand products.

Chief executives

Andrew Selley

Stephen Oswald

Grant Cox

Bidfood UK Bidfresh Logistics

The UK businesses did well, with the Foodservice business achieving excellent results. Revenue grew 6,4% to R31,4 billion (2017: R29,5 billion). Trading profit increased by 8,6% to R1,4 billion (2017: R1,3 billion). The core Foodservice and Fresh businesses are in good condition and well positioned for future growth.

Bidfood UK achieved growth in revenue and trading profit despite low-consumer demand and restaurant closures. National Account margins strengthened and freetrade sales showed continued growth. Own brands and specialist pillar range sales gained further momentum – all indicators that strategic goals are being achieved.

Sales pressures sharpened in the third quarter as business and consumer sentiment hit a low ebb. Customer confidence returned in the fourth quarter and sales picked up. Margins overall were well managed. Overheads were higher than expected as labour costs rose and the national driver shortage persisted. Overtime became a significant item at some depots, driven by higher freetrade activity levels.

New trading depots bedded down in Royton and Penrith. The Penrith opening in March underlined community and human capital commitments as over 200 jobs were created for communities in Cumbria. Social capital remains a priority and the business donated over 6 000 hours in community support, up 18%.

Specialist operations performed well, except the Channel Islands business which is taking a little longer to restructure than anticipated.

Intellectual capital is continually strengthened and customer migration to the latest version of the online “Bidfood Direct” platform was completed. In the fourth quarter, nine IT projects went live, including the installation of IT infrastructure and a voice pick console for Penrith and IT infrastructure for the centre of excellence following its move from Bury to Royton.

Note: The Financial and Manufactured Capital information does not include the discontinued operations.

In May, Bidfood UK IT was named Technology Team of the Year at the Real-IT awards.

Natural capital has long been a point of focus and work began to develop a “plastic pledge” to establish a baseline for plastic use in own brand products while exploring ways of reducing single-use plastics and boosting recycled content.

The plate2planet online platform (a tool to help foodservice businesses share sustainability information and tips) has become a much-used resource. Other natural capital successes include a reduction of over 10% in emissions following refrigeration plant improvements and a 37% rise in recycled water consumption. In addition, over 120 000 sheets of paper were saved by transferring paper payslips to digital format while a 23% reduction of sugar in own brand ice cream was achieved along with a 19% sugar reduction in tray cake recipes.

Another initiative sees the establishment of a responsible sourcing fish committee to further improve performance in this area.

Bidfresh performed below expectations. However, a platform for renewed growth has been laid.

Challenges related to the move of the Hensons meat business from the ageing site in King’s Cross, London, to a purpose-built facility in Woolwich. Some customers were lost and staff left. A new team and new processes are revitalising the business in the new facility.

At Seafood, timely succession planning resulted in the deployment of a new management team at Daily Fish. The average sales to independents rose and customer numbers increased.

Oliver Kay, the fresh fruit and vegetables business, opened a new depot in Birmingham designed to improve customer service and reduce cost inefficiencies. Scotland operations derived knock-on benefits and Campbells Produce staged an impressive turnaround.

In PCL, management has dedicated significant effort to improve service levels. However, profitability has been impacted. Discussions are underway with the client in order to match activity and service level expectations with profitable returns.

Discontinued operation – UK Contract Distribution (CD)
Performance was extremely poor in this business, which recorded significant losses, particularly in the second half of the year. The exit of KFC in February and accompanying redundancies and restructuring, the downscaling of properties and vehicles, the subsequent onboarding of a part of the KFC contract, poor weather and reduced consumer confidence in the chain segment of the market all contributed, as did additional costs in relation to the exit of the business.

At the time of the release of our results, Bidcorp was in the process of finalising an agreement with a proposed purchaser of the business who was in the final stages of clearing their approvals. Subsequently the prospective purchaser has notified Bidcorp that for its own internal reasons, it has decided not to proceed with the transaction. The CD business remains a non-core activity in respect of Bidcorp’s global foodservice operations and accordingly, Bidcorp is currently considering various proposals to exit the business.

During the year, the management irregularities identified during 2015 and 2016 were settled against the former business director and numerous other defendants. Significant legal costs were incurred in pursuing this matter, which has been resolved to our satisfaction. Certain recoveries have been made but further recoveries are still expected, including the finalisation of the insurance matter.


Sustainability is a key area of our business focus within the United Kingdom. Our aim is to develop and implement a sustainability strategy that reflects the wider industry drive towards sustainable development and embraces the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) while further improving our ongoing engagement with our key stakeholders.

Our ambition is to continue to lead and inspire change in foodservice through an enhanced strategy and new sustainable programme called “Food for the future” that is being embedded within UK operations. Bidfood UK is creating a healthier, more sustainable and more engaged approach to foodservice that is future fit.

Natural capital

UK operations continue to actively participate in the Climate Change Agreement (CCA), a UK government volunteer programme that sets sector-based greenhouse gas reduction targets. Numerous sites are engaged in the agreement. The current phase aims for an 8,3% carbon reduction target against the baseline year.

Since 2016, Bidfood UK has been awarded The Planet MarkTM Sustainability Certificate and is the first foodservice business to obtain this external validation of its commitment to continued improvement of our sustainability credentials.

Natural capital

Scope 1 emissions (tCO2e)
(excl refrigerants and aircon gases)
  Scope 1+ emissions (tCO2e)
(only refrigerants and aircon gases)
110 283   9 606
2017: 104 000   2017: NR
Scope 2 emissions (tCO2e)   Scope 3* (tonnes)
25 534  
Food waste 318
Waste recycled 8 813
Waste to landfill 6 472
2017: 23 744   2017: NR
    2018 %
Diesel (kilolitres) 40 754 5 36 658
Petrol (kilolitres) 5 >100 1
LPG (tonnes)
LNG (tonnes) 267 6 251
Aircon gas (tonnes) 4 NR
Electricity (non-renewable) (kWh) 90 204 696 8 83 879 995
Electricity (renewable) (kWh) 705 969 (6) 752 402
Municipal water (kilolitres) 224 603 (0,2) 225 132
Depot (m2) 289 955 20 241 773
Vehicles 2 587 5 2 464

NR = not reported
* Emissions not calculated.

Note: The Natural Capital information presented above includes the discontinued operations emissions for 2018.

Sustainable sourcing

Bidfresh is at the forefront of sustainable sourcing, with particular emphasis on the seafood sector. It is now expanding its sustainable sourcing affiliations into produce and meat.

To ensure the highest standards of our product offering, Bidfresh actively engages with organisations such as the Marine Stewardship Council, the Marine Conversation Society, the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative, Project UK, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, GAA-BAP certification, GLOBAL-G.A.P, Blue Marine Foundation and Red Tractor.

Focused efforts are in place to ensure our supply chain engages participants with high ethical standards. As a member of the Ethical Trade Initiative, Bidfresh has detailed mapping of the full supply chain, gaining assurance through supplier questionnaires and site audits.

To encourage our customers to make positive food choices, Bidfood UK has developed a vast array of tools, from product specifications and allergen information product lists to government buying standards and Food For Life best practice guides and fact sheets. Our work with industry-specific partnerships helps to ensure the delivery of healthier and more sustainable food choices to our customers.

Circular economy

Bidfresh is conducting a circular economy project pilot early in 2019. Focus of the project is to remove single-use plastics, use returnable crates, implement compostable packaging, collect rainwater and dispose of waste using a screw cork (generating compostable waste for return to farms).

Simple efficiency projects have reduced the consumption footprint. Interventions include phase load balancing, paperless delivery systems and self-service payroll and HR.

Waste management aims to “do more and better with less,” increasing net welfare gains from economic activities by reducing resource use, degradation and pollution. The goals are sustainable consumption and production.

Human capital

From pickers and packers to drivers and directors – it takes a lot of dedicated people to get quality food and catering supplies to our customers while delivering improvements in sustainability.

Bidfood UK is proud to be a fair employer and an employer of choice. According to our 2018 Employee Health and Wellbeing Survey, 73% of employees believe in our organisation, and their contributions, and feel proud to work with us.

Bidfood UK, committed to equal opportunities across the workforce, conducted an in-depth exercise to test employment practices such as fair pay and terms and equal treatment regardless of gender. Along with other companies across the UK, Bidfood UK reported our gender pay gap information, identifying the differences in male and female pay across the workforce. Within Bidfood UK, we found that mean average pay is slightly higher for females than males.

Our business is committed to ensuring employees are presented with a wide variety of development opportunities. Interventions include induction programmes for new starters joining warehouse and sales and the creation of an open programme of all training events scheduled across the business.

Our inaugural talent programme was launched in late 2018. This bespoke leadership and succession programme will help Bidfood UK grow and develop those individuals with long-term leadership potential.

Employee training and especially, health and safety, continue to be priorities. Across all our companies, the lost-time injury rate decreased and no fatalities were recorded during the reporting period.

Social and relationship capital

Beyond providing a service and employment, Bidfood UK believes it is important to make a difference to the local, national and global community. By engaging with the communities through various initiatives, Bidfood UK helps to empower people to make a difference and, by listening to people within these communities, helps us adjust our own priorities.

Our corporate social investment spend has remained constant over the past year. Bidfresh hosted a variety of charity dinners, using onsite development kitchens to raise money for Action Against Hunger. Via social media, these dinners were used to obtain suppliers’ participation as sponsors for Action Against Hunger events. This resulted in wider coverage and reach and, most notably, a significant contribution to the charity.

PCL proudly acknowledges the strong partnership with the local school, Howe Dell School. The school promotes environmental awareness and educates children in the economic and global impact of climate change. The PCL team was offered the opportunity to lead some school lessons and enthusiastically embraced the chance to discuss road safety and the impact of road transport on the environment.

Bidfood UK continues to support the One Foundation. The charity provides access to clean water and sanitation at projects in Africa. We help by encouraging customers to purchase “One” bottled water. Profits are channelled to the charity.

Human capital


2 020
2017: 1 592


5 910
2017: 5 866
  7 930
Total employees
2017: 7 458

Employees training spend



fatalities for the
past three years

Payroll spend (Rbn)

Social and relationship capital

CSI Spend (Rm)

Note: The Human and Social and Relationship Capital information presented above does not include the discontinued operations.