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The Grocer understands the vast majority of the crop from UK Salads was intended for Aldi, raising fears from sources it could face a significant shortfall in supply

Thousands of tonnes of salad crop in the UK and Europe could be left without a market following the collapse last week of major supplier UK Salads.

The business was responsible for around 60 acres of greenhouses in the UK as well as working as an intermediary for European growers with UK supermarkets.

Administrators FRP said UK Salads had faced “a period of challenging trading conditions” leading it to become “unable to meet its financial obligations as they fell due, entered into administration and ceased to trade”.

The Grocer understands the vast majority of the crop from UK Salads was intended for Aldi, raising fears from sources it could face a significant shortfall in supply. 

However, Aldi stressed to customers they would still be able to buy everything they need at the store.

And initial concerns that all the food would not be harvested appear to have been allayed. Lee Stiles, secretary of the Lea Valley Growers Association saying 90% of the UK crop would be picked. 

But one industry source suggested UK growers would be wary of supplying to Aldi now, so not much would end up where it was originally intended, leaving a gap in supply for the discounter and uncertainty over where the crop will end up. 

In response, an Aldi spokesman said: “We are committed to reducing food waste, and we are working with UK Salads, our global sourcing team, and other supply partners to ensure that no crops go to waste.” 

Many members of the LVGA had rented their glasshouses to UK Salads and have been told by administrators they are able to continue harvesting, Stiles said.

“They’ve got crop in and like most growers they can’t see it die,” he said. “They are going to try and save it and carry it on, and luckily, we’ve got several other packhouses that will take the crop.”

Read more: Aldi salad supplier UK Salads appoints administrators

However, a Dutch supplier who was contracted to supply UK Salads with over three million kilos of peppers and snacking peppers over the next year has not been told what he should do with his crop.

“We’ve planted everything and now they are bust,” he said, adding that he had been in a meeting with the company face to face three weeks ago and “they promised us all kinds of things and three weeks later it’s done”.

“It is really hard because I trusted them, they looked me in the eyes and they told me things but there is nothing left,” he said.

He added UK Salads, who his company had worked with for several years, had “played with us, to put it nicely”. 

His substantial produce supply is without tender and he was keen to make a deal with Aldi as soon as possible. 

The Grocer understands administrators FRP are in discussion with third parties over a solution for the remaining stock.

Food waste charities The Felix Project and FareShare have told The Grocer they would be happy to work with growers and suppliers to ensure that none of this food goes to waste.

“Clearly the closure and the potential loss of perfectly edible food is deeply worrying, especially at a time when so many people are facing food insecurity, we found 1 in 4 working London parents regularly struggle to afford to feed their families,” said Richard Smith, Head of Food Supply at The Felix Project. “Saving this amount of food would be hugely beneficial for both us and the community groups we supply.”