Tunbridge-based frozen food distributor Regale Frozen Foods has called in the liquidators after a tough year dogged by aggressive competition and the loss of key accounts.
Regale supplied a wide range of retail and catering customers within the Greater London area, ranging from Harrods to Somerfield, with premium ice cream brands such as Ben & Jerry's, frozen par-baked bread, confectionery and ready meals from a leased cold storage facility. It had eight delivery vehicles and 17 staff.
However, the company had been downsizing for several years and turnover had fallen from a peak of more than £14m to just over £3m in the last financial year.
Insolvency practitioner Parker Wood, which is convening a meeting with creditors on March 14, said Regale had been hit by the loss of a major customer, Café Rouge, while competition had intensified in recent years.
British Frozen Food Federation director general Alf Carr said the London congestion charge could have proved the straw that broke the camel's back, although the company's demise was also proof of how tough single drop distribution in the London area was becoming.
"Everybody is being squeezed," he said.

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