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Food wholesalers offer online orders to public to sell stock that restaurants aren’t buying 

With online deliveries booked up weeks in advance, people across the UK who live in remote areas and vulnerable shoppers are struggling to get their hands on essential goods.

But with restaurants and leisure attractions across the UK closed due to the lockdown, wholesalers are rapidly changing their business model to try to stay afloat as sales collapse. 

Mike Morgan, the managing director of Savona Foodservice, who usually supply the Eden Project, Peppa Pig World, Oxford University, Exeter Airport, the Brakspear pub group as well as a host of independent cafes and restaurants told Femail business has fallen 80 per cent after lockdown was enforced three weeks ago.

They have managed to claw back a five per cent increase by selling to the public, with a big increase in sales of pasta, tinned tomatoes and flour, with many offering next day delivery.

Meanwhile, Sezer Ozkul, Chief Products Officer at JJ Foodservice said that demand has increased 400 per cent.

‘We have always been open to the general-public but only five per cent of our customer base were households. No one really knew about us. We used to refer to ourselves as the ‘best kept secret.’

Households are turning to wholesalers to pick up essentials like toilet roll, pasta, and bread as supermarket shelves are stripped bare as panic buyers hoard goods. Pictured are workers at Natoora wholesaler stacking shelves

Households are turning to wholesalers to pick up essentials like toilet roll, pasta, and bread as supermarket shelves are stripped bare as panic buyers hoard goods. Pictured are workers at Natoora wholesaler stacking shelves

Households are turning to wholesalers to pick up essentials like toilet roll, pasta, and bread as supermarket shelves are stripped bare as panic buyers hoard goods. Pictured are workers at Natoora wholesaler stacking shelves

The wholesalers now selling direct to the public

 JJ Foodservice 

Order online for next day delivery – depending on your location

The business who supplied Wasabi, You Me Sushi and schools are also now selling to the public. 

Sezer Ozkul, Chief Products Officer told FEMAIL: ‘Our business literally changed overnight –  on March 21st we had an emergency strategy meeting. 

‘By the end of the day, our Next Day Home Delivery Service was live, offering next day deliveries for orders placed by 9pm with a minimum order of just £79. 

‘We advertised this via a social media and the response has been extremely positive – we are taking on new customers every day and the messages to our customers services team have increased 400 per cent as more people are making inquiries about setting up a new account. 

‘This will probably come as no surprise, but our toilet roll sales increased by 150 per cent – we were selling up to five containers more per week. Pasta, hand wash and bizarrely fresh chicken sales also went up significantly. To better support households, we are increasing our range of smaller pack sizes for essential household groceries such as cheese, tea bags, fresh vegetables and fruits.  

ESSENTIALS AVAILABLE TO ORDER  

 Kingsmill Great Everyday Soft White Bread (Medium)-1x800g – from 99p

Lakeland Salted Butter 4x250g – from £4.99 

Fermipan Instant Yeast (Single Packets)-1x500g  – from £3.49 

Red Kidney Beans 6x800g – from £5.99 

PG Tips Tagged Tea Bags-1×100 – from £3.99 

Wright`s Plain Flour-5×1.5kg – from £4.99

Fresh Whole Milk-(Blue Cap)-1x2L – from 99p

Nestle Shreddies (Single) 1x415g – from £.249 

Fresh Avocados-1×6 – from £9.99 

Free Range Medium Eggs (Size 3)-1×60 – from £9.99

Woods Foodservice 

Order over the phone or by email for next day delivery in London and delivery within a few days across the South East 

Darren Labbett the managing director of Woods Foodservice said: ‘We bought in fresh fruit, vegetables, salad and fresh meat boxes to be able to offer a one stop shop, these are very popular. However, it seems that everybody wants toilet rolls and pasta. Luckily we have plenty of both,’ Mr Labbett explained. 

He added that they’ve seen sales of bread flour and yeast shoot up, as people try and make their own bread and cakes at home.

‘As our turnover increases we are able to gradually ask furloughed staff to come back to ensure we keep up with demand.’

ESSENTIALS AVAILABLE TO ORDER 

Fruit, veg and salad

Medium veg box

Large veg box

Medium fruit box

Medium salad box

Pasta

Dried Fusilli

Dried Penne

Fresh

Pasta Sauce

Fridge

Charcuterie

Stealth Fries –

Frozen Chips

Butter

Cheese

Milk

Dips

Bread

Kingsmill Sliced White

Part Baked Croissants

Part Baked Bread

Bread flour

Yeast

Snacks

Pringles

McCoys Crisps

Kent Chips

Tortillas

Nuts

Confectionary

Tiptree jams & marmalade

Peanut Butter

Nutella

Honey  

 Fresh Meat

 Medium Fresh Meat Box

Large Fresh Meat Box

Large Fresh Meat Box with

Gluten Free sausages.

Kosher Fresh Meat box

Halal Fresh Meat Box

Cleaning Etc

Toilet Rolls

Dishwasher Tablets

Sanitiser Spray

Cling Film

Sponge Cloths

Drinks

Urban Cordials

Blackcurrant Squash Large

Orange Juice

Breakfast

Cornflakes

Granola Rude Health

Porridge Oats

Store Cupboard

Hobnob Biscuits

Granulated Sugar

English Breakfast Tea bags

Heinz Tomato Ketchup

Plain Flour 1.5kg

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Eggs

Canned Products

Heinz Spaghetti Hoops

Heinz Baked Beans

Chopped Tomatoes

Tuna

Canned Fruit

 

Dunns Food and Drink 

Order online or via the app for deliveries across Scotland 

Julie Dunn told FEMAIL her family run business lost 70 per cent of business when the lockdown hit.

The company, supply the prestigious Gleneagles golf course as well as DiMaggios, Montpeiirs and Hawksmoor restaurants. 

Ms Dunn said people are buying cleaning materials and toilet rolls, bread, milk, eggs, sugar, flour, butter, pasta, and wine but their luxury food items are not being purchased. 

‘We have been surprised by the number of people interested in catering pack sizes – so – perfectly happy to take 16kg of flour in order to bake for their neighbours. Nice community spirit. 

‘Although most callers are looking for the staples just now, possibly once we are all more used to life in isolation, home cooking will be a pleasant time filler for the family which is why we are posting recipe ideas every day through social media because with 6,500 lines available it is most probable that the home cooks can achieve a global kitchen through Dunns.’ 

ESSENTIALS AVAILABLE TO ORDER  

Sauces and stock

Vegetable stock

Gravy  

 Red pesto

Green pesto

Bolognese sauce 

Dolimo tomato and basil sauce 

Knorr Arrabiata sauce 

Balti curry sauce

Jalfrezi curry sauce

Tikka Masala curry sauce

Korma paste

Cheese sauce

Bechemel sauce 

Plum sauce

Oyster sauce

Teriyaki sauce

Sweet chilli sauce  

Red curry paste

Green curry paste 

Table sauces  

Mayonnaise

Mustard

Tomato ketchup

Vinegar 

Salad dressing

Chutney 

Gherkin 

Confectionery 

 Jam

Peanut butter

Nutella

Biscotti 

Fudge

Lotus biscuits 

Crisps

Nuts

Popcorn

Tiffin 

Sugar

Hot drinks

Instant coffee

Ground coffee

Coffee beans

Hot chocolate

Breakfast tea

Speciality tea 

 Pasta, rice and grains

Fusilli

Linguine

Penne

Spaghetti

Tagliatelle

Quinoa 

Lentils

Couscous

Arborio rice

Long grain rice 

 Dairy (UHT)

Whipped cream

Soy milk

Custard

Condensed milk

Double cream

Tins 

 Chopped tomatoes 

Passata 

Canned fruit

Canned fish

Butterbeans 

Cannelli beans 

Arthichoke hearts

Sweetcorn

Vegetable Ravoli 

Oils

Olive oil

Vegetable oil

Rapeseed oil

Chilli oil 

Goose fat 

Cooking wine, cider, and brandy 

Cereals 

 Kelloggs Coco pops

Kelloggs Crunchy Granola

Kelloggs Rice Crispies

Kelloggs Bran Flakes

Museli  

 Chilled

Cheese and vegan cheese

Sliced ham

 Chips 

Hummus

Bacon 

Chicken 

Bidfood 

Order online for next day delivery, depending on location, or click and collect 

Bidfood one of the UK’s largest foodservice providers was forced to change its business model overnight to support the growing demand for supplies during the Covid-19 outbreak.  

Earlier this month, Bidfood and Brakes  announced they would be joining forces to support a new government initiative to ensure that vital food supplies reach the country’s most vulnerable people during the coronavirus crisis.

The initiative sees the two companies working together to deliver potentially hundreds of thousands of weekly care packages across the country to people at high risk from the virus, who are not able to get easy access to food.

ESSENTIALS AVAILABLE TO ORDER 

Fruit and vegetables 

Potato products

Range of fresh fruit

Range of fresh vegetables

Chips and fries

Delicatessen 

Cooked meats

Continental meats

Pate and terrines

Sandwich fillings

Prepared Salads

Olives and antipasti

Dairy and eggs 

Butter

Cheese

Milk

Cream

Eggs

Yoghurt 

Bakery 

 Traditional and speciality bread

Baguettes

Pannini, Ciabatta Focaccia

Bread rolls

Burger buns 

Naan, pitta, flatbread and tortillas

English muffins

Crumpets

Bagels

Pretzels

Cakes and bakes 

Drinks 

Tea

Coffee

Wine, beer, cider and spirits 

 Sports and energy drinks

Fruit drinks

Adult soft drinks

Fruit juice and smoothies

Squashes and cordial 

 Meat and fish

Beef

Lamb

Pork

Poultry 

Sausages  

 White fish

Salmon

Smoked fish

Speciality fish

Breaded and butter fish

Coated fish

Prawns and shellfish 

Everyday essentials 

 Breakfast essentials

Preserves, honeys and spreads

Baking ingredients and desserts 

Gravy, bouillon and stock

Soup 

Pulses, rice, noodles and pasta

Cooking sauces

Condiments and sauces

Herbs, spices and oils 

Desserts 

 Cakes

Ice cream

Cheesecake

Brownies

Pancakes and crepes

Waffles

Snacks 

 Biscuits

Crackers

Protein bars

Cereal bars

Flapjacks

Muffins

Cakes

Crisps

Popcorn 

Oncore Foodservice

Order online for delivery across the North West 

Rob Coupe, director of Oncore foodservices, said the supplier set up a delivery service through DPD to selling meat boxes and deli boxes to customers.

The Preston-based supplier usually sell to  care homes, restaurants, pubs, nurseries,  hotels, and work canteens.

Sales have gone up about 10 per cent since introducing Farm2Fork, which sends deli boxes to people’s homes. 

Volcano Coffee Works 

Order online for home delivery  

Emma Loisel, is co-founder and chair, of Volcano Coffee Works, which supplied more than 350 cafes, restaurants and hotels across the UK and in Paris.

‘We already sold direct to consumer, but it was less than 2 per cent of our overall revenue. Online sales via our website have grown by 680 per cent in three weeks – but it’s still less than 10 per cent of our revenues before Covid-19,’ she said. 

‘Consumers buying for home use order small quantities – either a couple of 200kg bags or a 1 kg bag. 

‘Packing and posting a much higher quantity of orders is labour intensive and time consuming, we are having to quickly establish new working practices and processes to make sure we can fill these orders. If consumers could do one order for their coffee needs for the next few weeks that will help us and Royal Mail keep up.’

However, demand from households may not be enough to keep businesses afloat. 

Mr Morgan told FEMAIL: ‘Food service wholesalers are a credit based industry – whereas retails is effectively cash – we have debt that businesses cannot settle as they are now closed and our suppliers are expecting payment.

‘We have warehouses full of stock that are typically not selling due to the size of the product –  like 2.5kg tins of beans, tomatoes, 10kg of chips  -– they are geared for caterers – who are now shut. 

‘Half our customers who owe money are no longer there and most will not come back and never pay.  

With their sales down 75 per cent, Mr Morgan fears many will struggle to stay open, which could put the most vulnerable at risk.

‘The care homes that we supply (about 200 for Savona, but thousands are served by our industry) rely upon us – however the food service business model is not a dedicated logistics model. 

Food wholesalers have turned to the public to sell their stock after losing millions in revenue overnight due to the coronavirus lockdown closing down restaurants and shops nationwide. Pictured is a market worker packing bag in the closed Borough Market where suppliers are donating good to the NHS

Food wholesalers have turned to the public to sell their stock after losing millions in revenue overnight due to the coronavirus lockdown closing down restaurants and shops nationwide. Pictured is a market worker packing bag in the closed Borough Market where suppliers are donating good to the NHS

Food wholesalers have turned to the public to sell their stock after losing millions in revenue overnight due to the coronavirus lockdown closing down restaurants and shops nationwide. Pictured is a market worker packing bag in the closed Borough Market where suppliers are donating good to the NHS

‘We rely on the 75 per cent of the business we’ve lost to make the numbers stack up. 

‘Without the rest of our customer base, we are actually worse off by continuing to trade than we would be by closing the doors completely. 

Huge overheads – including a fleet of delivery vehicles worth £100,000 each – mean many companies are struggling to stay afloat amid the crisis, Mr Morgan explained.

‘There is a real risk that supply to the care sector will cease at a time when they need us the most. Please be aware that the food service industry works on a net margin of about two per cent – so there is almost nothing for us to play with. The industry needs grants and support. 

‘Several smaller care homes have move to us, because they cannot get the goods from the retailers, either because of quantity limits or product availability  

Pictured are empty shelves in Waitrose in Sheffield. Many households are turning to wholesalers after panic buyers hoarded goods in many supermarket

Pictured are empty shelves in Waitrose in Sheffield. Many households are turning to wholesalers after panic buyers hoarded goods in many supermarket

Pictured are empty shelves in Waitrose in Sheffield. Many households are turning to wholesalers after panic buyers hoarded goods in many supermarket

‘This is a traumatic time for the food and drinks supply chain’ 

 

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