Defra urged suppliers to give fair allocation of goods to the wholesale supply chain as local shops continue to play a vital role
Today the FWD announced there had been “immediate improvement” with the flow of stock
Wholesalers and convenience stores are seeing an increase in stock availability following intervention by the government.
Defra stepped in this week to urge suppliers to give fair allocation of goods to the wholesale supply chain as local shops continue to play a vital role within communities during lockdown.
The shake-up followed crisis talks between members of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors and the government, which took place on Tuesday. It was highlighted during the talks that c-store shelves had been left empty as suppliers appeared to be favouring the multiples.
Defra officials encouraged suppliers to re-balance their allocation to reflect the purchasing habits of members of the public who are following government advice to avoid unnecessary travel and contact, and choosing to take advantage of local shops and home delivery services.
Today the FWD announced there had been “immediate improvement” with the flow of stock going through the wholesale supply chain.
“We have had a very positive response from government and suppliers to our calls for this obvious need for re-alignment to meet increased demand,” said FWD CEO James Bielby.
“In many cases, the smaller shops our members supply are the only choice for rural communities and urban residential areas, and therefore play a vital role for those who are self-isolating or limiting their movement outside their homes.
“While demand hotspots have fluctuated wildly in the early weeks of this crisis, we expect purchasing patterns to settle down, with an emphasis on local. As suppliers are likely to be facing a slowdown in production and rationalising ranges, it’s important that they understand where their brands are most needed, and we are grateful to government for listening, and to the Food and Drink Federation for their help in communicating to their members about the need for balance when they allocate product.”
Clare Bocking, chief commercial officer at DCS Group, told The Grocer earlier this week of the difficulties the company was having in sourcing enough stock from suppliers. However, following the interventions by Defra, Bocking said she had seen allocations increase, with one supplier promising 32 lorries over the Easter weekend, plus an additional 15% of loads with immediate effect.
“Just in the last 24 hours we have seen suppliers prioritising this route to market, so we can assure retailers that the brands they need are coming,” said Bocking. “It’s been a very positive response to a combined effort by the wholesale and convenience sector and suppliers have reacted as quickly as they can to redress the imbalance in allocation.”