Brand owners are clamouring to reassure the trade it’s business as usual after Food Brokers plunged into administration.
Suppliers including Masterfoods and Fox’s said contingency plans were up and running.
Fox’s Confectionery has switched to SHS in the UK and Jaymark in Ireland to manage sales and distribution of brands such as Poppets and Just Brazils.
Mario Giannotta, Fox’s MD, said: “We felt SHS and Jaymark would deliver full coverage across core routes to market.”
Graham Dyer, MD of Chupa Chups UK, another Food Brokers principal, said: “We are assessing our options to service the UK and are working hard to minimise potential disruption. We view this as an opportunity to rationalise our distribution processes and forge closer relationships with retailers.”
Masterfoods, which relied on Food Brokers to sell and distribute its branded milk drinks, said on Thursday it was close to securing a distributor.
Food Brokers also handled products under PepsiCo’s Quaker brand. PepsiCo said outstanding orders were being dealt with by its sister company Walkers Snack Foods.
Administrator Grant Thornton is working to help retailers and manufacturers maintain close links with warehouse and logistics suppliers to maintain
orders. Duncan Swift, head of Grant Thornton’s food and agribusiness group and joint administrator with Samantha Keen, said: “We urge customers not to delist client products but to contact Food Brokers to help our efforts to reconnect the supply chain.”
The administrators have made 90 staff out of 122 employees redundant - mainly field sales personnel plus support staff at Food Brokers’ Portsmouth HQ.
Swift added: “The sales force could be resurrected if a prospective purchaser of the business was prepared to act quickly. This aspect is being explored with third parties.”
He said distribution problems had been a major source of difficulties.
Food Brokers was founded in 1961 by Desmond Cracknell. Desmond’s son Victor, who has remained involved with the day-to-day running of the business along with his brother Toby, said he was devastated: “After 43 years it is a tragedy.”
He was at pains to thank loyal staff for all their hard work.
Rod Addy and Ronan Hegarty