Andy Clarke

Former Asda boss Andy Clarke this week helped rescue Farmison from administration

Farmison is set to make a renewed push into mainstream supermarkets, after being rescued from administration by former Asda boss Andy Clarke this week.

Clarke told The Grocer he could see the opportunity to get the premium online meat brand into core retailers.

It comes as a consortium – led by Clarke and the founders of brand agency Chilli Marketing, Gareth Whittle and brothers Christian and Kieron Barton – purchased Farmison’s assets in the wake of its collapse earlier this month.

The trio will restart trading in the coming weeks at Farmison’s production facility in Ripon, North Yorkshire, backing the previous operations management team and re-employing some of the 75 staff that lost their jobs in the administration.


The consortium also expects to reopen Farmison’s website and will update customers and suppliers with plans “in due course”.

Clarke, who was CEO of Asda from 2010 to 2016, will become executive chairman of Farmison.

He told The Grocer the new venture would continue to fly the flag for Farmison’s core values of “provenance, quality and eating better meat”.

He said further investors had been lined up to fund the strategy and build working capital.

’The first phase is to stabilise and secure while retaining core values’

“We’ve got a stabilisation plan for the first year and that will need working capital, which we have secured a good level of to allow us to invest and grow,” Clarke added. “The first phase is to stabilise and secure while retaining core values.”

The vast majority of Farmison’s revenue came from DTC, with just 10% generated from wholesale with Michelin-star restaurant customers and high-end retailers such as Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges and Harrods.

Clarke said there was an opportunity to significantly grow the wholesale side.

“It is still very early to be really clear about how the future will unfold,” added Clarke, “but one thing that is certain is we’ve got a great wholesale, restaurant and retail opportunity,” he said.


“I can see the advantages of putting the Farmison brand on to shelves of core retail, as long as it is the right retail brand.

“The direct-to-consumer route is a strong proposition, but we have to get the marketing right and the way we acquire and retain customers.”

Since leaving Asda, Clarke has founded a consultancy firm and held several board seats, including currently as chairman of Menzies Distribution and Leeds Bradford Airport.

Farmison was founded in 2011 by John Pallagi and Lee Simmonds with a mission to encourage UK consumers to “eat better meat”.

However, it ran into financial difficulty following a buyout by Scottish private equity firm Inverleith, which also owned Planet Organic, last year.

FRP Advisory was appointed as administrator on 6 April 2023 when a rescue deal failed to materialise.