Organic fruit and veg

Wholegood supplies organic fruit & veg, as well as hundreds of brands, to the likes of Ocado, Whole Foods and Planet Organic

Specialist wholesaler Wholegood has hired advisors to explore funding options and ease cashflow pressures.

The Grocer has learned the London-based group is close to securing growth funding, with financial advisory firm Kroll working on a deal.

It comes after a turbulent few months for the wholesaler. Branded suppliers have complained of late payments in recent months and difficulties in contacting Wholegood to chase money owed.

But The Grocer understands Wholegood is now back on track and catching up with outstanding payments.

Industry sources said Wholegood had been facing temporary cashflow pressures following rapid growth but had turned a corner with the recent expanded supply agreement with Milk & More.

Last month, Milk & More upped its agreement with Wholegood, which was already one of the service’s main fruit & veg suppliers, to help double its doorstep delivery grocery range.

Carl Saxton-Pizzie launched Wholegood in 2007 from the back of a van with ambitions to disrupt the organic produce industry.

He has since bootstrapped the business and grown annual revenues to about £30m, with a 160-strong team of employees.

The business won the Specialist Wholesaler of the Year prize at the Grocer Gold Awards twice, in 2019 and 2021.

Wholegood supplies organic fruit & veg, as well as hundreds of brands, to the likes of Ocado, Whole Foods, Planet Organic and Gail’s.

It expanded rapidly during the pandemic as demand for online grocery shopping exploded, increasing its distribution with Q-commerce operations such as Gorillas, Gopuff and Jiffy.

The business scaled up substantially as a result, taking on new warehouse space, hiring an additional 60 staff and listing more than 1,000 additional brands.

Revenues soared 57% to £22.2m in the year ended 31 March 2021, up from £14.1m pre-pandemic, according to the most recent accounts available at Companies House. It also moved back into the black from a pre-tax loss of £245k to a profit of £752k.

Saxton-Pizzie stepped aside as CEO last year and appointed Martin Sandler as boss, with the founder taking on a new role of chief growth officer.

Wholegood did not respond to requests for comment and Kroll declined to give a statement.