Wyke Farms has taken to Facebook to fight back against its delisting by Morrisons.
The cheesemaker called on consumers to “save” its Cheddar and tell the supermarket’s customer services they wanted the cheese to remain in stores.
Its cheeses would disappear from Morrisons by the middle of September, Wyke said, because it was not able to compete financially with bigger cheese companies in a recent branded cheese tender.
“This is because we are a relatively small family business who tries to pay our farmers more for their milk,” Wyke said on Facebook.
MD Richard Clothier said Wyke had been disappointed to lose the Morrisons listing because sales had been going well.
“We were selling about 40,000 packs a week and thought the relationship was going from strength to strength,” he said. “We thought we had put together a strong proposal for why we should remain in store, but then the auction went to a blind round, where suppliers were given the opportunity to invest further, and we didn’t make it.”
A spokesman for Morrisons said: “We took the decision to remove the Wyke Farms brand following an extensive category review of all our pre-packed cheese.
“Feedback from customers was that there was a lot of duplication in our range and we are consequently trying to simplify it. The decision was also formed by our desire to have more of an own-brand offering ahead of our category relaunch in September.”
Clothiers said he hoped the Facebook campaign – which calls on consumers to tell Morrisons in-store customer services they want to keep buying Wyke Farms in Morrisons and to post a “keep Wyke Farms in Morrisons” message on Facebook – would help Wyke Farms prove to the retailer that its brand had a loyal customer following and was worth keeping in store.
Since starting its Facebook campaign over the weekend, the company has added about 1,500 “likes”, taking it from just over 5,000 to 6,700.
Wyke had been listed in Morrisons with its Mature, Extra Mature and Vintage variants, all in 350g blocks. Clothier said he hoped Wyke would convince Morrisons to relist it at the beginning of 2013 or “April at the latest”.
Wyke is not the first Cheddar brand to use social media to fight back against de-listings. Last year, Fayrefield Foods’ Collier’s Powerful Welsh Cheddar brand used Facebook and Twitter to mobilise shoppers against its de-listing by Sainsbury’s. The brand was re-listed earlier this year.