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Two growers have told The Grocer they have not heard from UK Salads or its main retail partner Aldi since administrators were appointed on 28 February

Uncertainty continues over where crop destined for collapsed fresh produce supplier UK Salads will end up, almost three weeks after it appointed administrators.

Several growers have told The Grocer they have not heard from UK Salads management or its main retail partner Aldi since administrators were appointed on 28 February, with two also waiting for contact from administrators FRP.

One supplier said he had planted 100,000 plants in his glasshouse for Aldi, which would have been packed and distributed to the discounter by UK Salads.

However, 70% of the crop was still without a home after the collapse of the business at the end of February, with the clock now ticking on its viability and mounting concerns thousands of tonnes of produce could go to waste.

The supplier said he was supposed to start harvesting the crop this week.

Aldi and FRP both told The Grocer earlier this month they were working hard to ensure no crop was wasted.

“I’ve got all my crop planted for UK Salads,” the grower told The Grocer. “And now I’m still searching for somewhere for my plants to go.

“I’m in a deep hole at the moment [and] trying to climb out of it,” he added. “So, I am trying to talk to supermarkets directly, which I don’t normally do but I’m asking them for help.”

Aldi salad supplier UK Salads appoints administrators

He added this was a particularly challenging time in the season as most suppliers and retailers had all contracts and plans signed off and volumes accounted for.

Without support, “I am done for” he explained, adding his business would likely not be able to continue if he failed to find a market for the remainder of his crop.

The same supplier said he had also been let down by UK Salads last year, after the company had “overpromised” on what it would be purchasing from him.

He added the collapsed packer, greenhouse operator and produce supplier had fired “a lot of staff” with connections to the retailers, which meant the company did not have enough buyer contacts. 

UK Salads had promised to make up for last year’s losses and a week prior to its collapse had told the supplier to go ahead and plant his crop.

A European buyer had been in touch with the grower but had offered 50% less than what UK Salads had agreed, which he said were already “rock bottom prices”.

The grower hit out at the prospective buyer’s attempts to profiteer from the situation. “I said ‘what if I removed the plants completely, so I’ll lose and no one makes a profit out of it?’.” 

Aldi declined to comment. The Grocer understands it is continuing to work with supply partners to resolve the issue and is confident there will be no wastage. 

FRP did not respond to requests made for comment. 

Thousands of tonnes of salad crop left without a home after UK Salads collapse