In 2016 Kash Khera MD Simply Fresh and Guy Warner owner Warner’s Budgens asked Scott Annan, the founder of IROF, how they could access ‘best practice’ insights from leading retailers ‘home and abroad’. They recognised the importance of staying relevant to consumers and remain ‘on top of their game’. Visiting top UK and Ireland independents Scott Annan discovered that much of their success came from their own efforts rather than from the store brands or supply chains. A forum for an invited group of independent owners along the lines of The Retail Leaders Forum http://blueananta.com/retail-leaders-forum/ was proposed and IROF was launched in February 2017. In 2017 the foundation year IROF had 12 top retailers from a membership ceiling of twenty.