IGD said the 0.3% rise in sales last year was driven by the development of new clients in the foodservice market.
Chief economist James Walton said wholesalers and their partners should take the initiative to develop new growth opportunities.
“We have noted a decline of symbol stores this year – by 0.7% – but this is rooted in short-term structural change and, once passed, we should see growth reassert itself,” said Walton.
‘Encouraging growth opportunities’
“There are some really encouraging growth opportunities for the sector. Above all, consumers are becoming more willing to spend on eating out, driving the rapid evolution of the high street casual dining and pub sectors, as well as food-to-go.”
Foodservice wholesalers have bucked a wider trend in the sector, which IGD believed would continue as the UK embraces out-of-home food consumption.
Wholesalers were also working more closely with suppliers and retailers, added Walton.
“[Wholesalers and retailers] are engaging directly with each other and working towards the same goals, which is making wholesale a much more effective channel. So there remains plenty to play for in this sector.”