Farmison shop opening (1 of 1)-4

Source: Farmison & Co

Farmison opened its first bricks and mortar shop in Ripon in 2021

Premium DTC meat retailer Farmison has collapsed after rescue talks to save the business proved fruitless.

Insolvency firm FRP Advisory was appointed as administrator on 6 April 2023.

Most of the 75 employees at the Yorkshire-headquartered company were made redundant on appointment as the business ceased trading.

A skeleton staff has been retained as administrators work to sell off Farmison’s assets, including the brand and intellectual property.

It follows a report last month by The Grocer that private equity owner Inverleith had hired FRP to run an accelerated sales process at the business to find a buyer or new investors.

A new investment vehicle had been set up at Companies House in preparation for a pre-pack administration rescue deal by London-based meat wholesaler Tom Hixson of Smithfield. However, negotiations ended without a deal being agreed.

FRP said in a statement that Farmison “recently underwent a fundraising process to secure external investment to support its business plan but did not secure a sufficient level of interest”.

The administrator added that following “a period of significant operational investment, the business has not generated the required level of revenues to sustain its high cost base”.

“In recent weeks interest in the business and assets has been explored but a transaction could not be completed, and the directors have therefore placed the company into administration,” FRP said.

FRP partner Arvindar Jit Singh added: “Farmison had made significant investment in recent years in its operations as it aimed to carve out a differentiated brand and offering in the online retail space.

“However, it proved too heavy a burden to sustain without the uplift in sales that it had expected.

“Without a major capital injection, the business could not continue trading and we must now commence an asset sale. We encourage any interested parties to come forward. In the meantime, we have a specialist team working with impacted staff to access support through the Redundancy Payments Service.”

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

The Ripon-based business, which worked with local farmers to source sustainable heritage and rare breeds, experienced a sales boom during the pandemic, with sales doubling to £12m in 2021.

However, despite the rapid growth, Farmison fell to a £2.6m loss, weighed down by its cost base.

Inverleith, which also owns troubled supermarket chain Planet Organic, acquired a majority stake in Farmison in early 2022.

The business also succeeded in hitting a £2m crowdfunding target in a round launched in November last year, but cancelled the raise before taking the money after making changes to the growth plan.

As well as selling direct to consumers online, the brand also supplied high-end retailers, such as Fortnum & Mason and Harrods, and restaurants.