Over the course of its 25-plus years of operation, Oban-based fresh produce supplier JM Breckenridge has earned a reputation for the quality of its service, which was yet again further underlined when it was recently named Fresh Produce Supplier of the Year at the Food Awards Scotland 2016 for the second year running.
“We were delighted to win the award again, as it reflects really well on the business,” explains Scott McDonald, Partner. “We’ve won awards for the last two years in a row so it’s great that we’ve been able to demonstrate such strong consistency, which is testament to our staff and the hard work that they put in. We’re all very hands-on, whilst we also do everything we can to ensure that the products are the highest quality possible and are at the right price for the customer too. This involves working closely with our suppliers, many of which we have had an excellent trading relationship for a number of years.”
With this emphasis on quality and customer service it is easy to see how JM Breckenridge has been able to clock up so many years of business while also continuing to pick up industry awards. This is allowing the company to successfully compete with much bigger organisations, such as Brakes and Booker. “Our commitment to quality and delivery for the customer has been a major factor behind our growth,” adds Mr McDonald. “We also have excellent local knowledge and our customers really appreciate the lengths we go to build strong working relationships with them. We remain very much a family-orientated business and these values underpin our approach as a company. We’re always prepared to go that bit further to please the customer.”
Operating from depots in Oban and Fort William, JM Breckenridge delivers six days a week to its customers. Whilst fruit and vegetables continues to be its main area of focus, the company has also increasingly expanded its dairy offer to the extent that it now represents around ten per cent of its total turnover, as Mr McDonald outlines: “We do a lot of milk, cream, cheese, eggs, bread, etc and we’re always looking to further enhance our range in line with customer requirements. It’s vital that we keep striving to improve our offering because the market is extremely competitive, particularly as it becomes ever more cost conscious. Thankfully many companies are still willing to pay that little bit extra in order to secure the right level of quality, which has always been our strong point.
“Another challenge that we’re having to contend with is the continuing fall out from Brexit. We import around 80 per cent of our produce all year round from the likes of Holland and Spain so obviously the price of the Euro impacts on that. The post-Brexit picture is still very unclear but we’re working hard to be prepared for whatever changes take place as a result of it. There’s a chance that we will see a growing amount of English produce coming through and from a Scottish perspective we’re starting to see Scottish carrots and turnips in greater numbers to go with Scottish strawberries and raspberries. It’s a challenge but it’s a challenge that we’re aware of.”
“Our commitment to quality and delivery for the customer has been a major factor behind our growth. We also have excellent local knowledge and our customers really appreciate the lengths we go to build strong working relationships with them. We remain very much a family-orientated business and these values underpin our approach as a company. We’re always prepared to go that bit further to please the customer.”
Scott McDonald, Partner
As it looks to build on its latest award success and maintain the momentum it has built up, JM Breckenridge is now looking to expand more into the hotel and restaurant marketplace, whilst also increasing the area it delivers to so that it covers the whole of the west of Scotland and make further inroads northwards. At the same time the objective is to continue building on the relationships it has with its existing customers.
“We’re keen to grow further but we also want to ensure that we retain our existing customers not overstretching ourselves,” says Mr McDonald. “It’s absolutely essential that we don’t compromise the level of service that we have become known for.”
It’s clear that JM Breckenridge is in no mood to get complacent and is instead looking to use the award success as the catalyst to make further improvements. “There aren’t that many awards available in this industry so it’s lovely to be recognised for the strength of our service and the quality that we deliver,” concludes Mr McDonald. “Having won the awards we’ve got to make sure that we continue to live up to the same standards. You can’t be pictured in the paper with an award and yet be delivering rotten tomatoes to customers at the same! They’d soon be ringing you up to let you know!
“With this in mind we are looking to keep developing our facilities to support our operation and we have plans to open a third depot. This will be a major development for the business and enable us to keep up with demand. We’ll certainly have a better idea on how this is going in a year’s time.”
With the last 12 months having proven so successful for JM Breckenridge, it looks like 2017 is on course to be every bit as fruitful as the company strives to keep improving its service for customers.