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Schools and care homes face food shortages – wholesalers’ dire warning | City & Business | Finance

According to the Federation of Wholesale Distributors some 20 percent of merchants in the food service sector could collapse. 

These provide communal kitchens with produce from fresh meat and veg to cans of baked beans and the crisis has been triggered by their hospitality customers shutting down, reducing orders or being unable to pay bills.

This has a knock-on effect on firms who find their other public sector customers insufficient to generate enough trade to keep them going.

With no specific help so far for operators, the Federation is lobbying for grants and rates relief on the traders’ warehouses which provide stock for 330,000 outlets.

“Wholesalers may be invisible, but we are the wheels, without us regular food supplies cannot be counted on, ”

Coral Rose, Coral Rose, chair of the Council of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors

“We have been asking for months for parity with retailers who have had rates and blanket help. Many food service wholesalers, often family-run independents not giants like in retail and widely dispersed, are fighting for their lives which could mean Christmas without the trimmings,” says Coral Rose, chairwoman of the Federation’s Council and managing director of buyer The Country Range Group. 

Even with fewer customers wholesalers still must send out their lorries and make round trips, but now with half their trade diminishing they’re finding their costs outweigh their earnings, she explains.

“Each wholesaler serves a particular market and is deliberately chosen by the customer. Eighty per cent of the UK’s 21,000 care homes operate like this, for example choosing food that is easy for their residents to swallow. 

“If the supplier closes they are left at the back of a growing queue, scrabbling to find another further away. Wholesalers may be invisible, but we are the wheels, without us regular supplies cannot be counted on.”

 

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