KerryFresh customers scramble for alternative chilled suppliers

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Rural retailers affected by the collapse of the KerryFresh van delivery business are scrambling for alternative suppliers of chilled products.

Many former KerryFresh customers were caught off guard by yesterday’s announcement of the firm’s administration, despite recent delivery issues.

Gary Pilsworth, owner of Offley Stores and Post Office in Hertfordshire, discovered the news after speaking to C-Store this morning. “I don’t know what we’re going to do - they were our only supplier for chilled food.

“We might go back to Booker, although I’m not sure of the range, or I might contact Bestway. Otherwise I’ll have to go to the supermarkets,” he added.

Andrew Johnson, owner of Dafarn Newydd Stores in Wales, said: “It’s going to have a big impact, about half of our chiller was from KerryFresh. Now we need someone to supply fresh sandwiches, butter, creams, Rustler products and cooked meats.

“We have a small independent seller but he doesn’t carry fresh sandwiches. Twitter has been really useful to contact suppliers – Urban Eat and the Real Wrap Company have promised to get back to me. We asked Greencores but they wanted a minimum order of 130 sandwiches a week, and we only sell about 30. Lots of it is down to volume and distance – we’re right in the middle of nowhere here.”

Andrew did not anticipate yesterday’s news. “We were being supplied from the Birmingham depot, about two and a half hours away but the driver always delivered early in the morning, and had really built our business up,” he added.

Raju Patel, owner of Premier Eldred Drive Stores in Orpington, Kent, said he had sensed KerryFresh’s fate a couple of months ago so had increased his orders from Booker and started sourcing from a local supplier.

“We have most things covered, we’re ordering more bacon and sausages from Booker, but we miss the coleslaw which KerryFresh delivered which was very popular. And I don’t know who else does Richmond sausages.”

A spokeswoman for Booker said: ”We are happy to help and support any independent retailer with all aspects of their business.”

Readers' comments (11)

  • If you only sell 30 sandwiches a week not having them is hardly a problem now is it?

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  • This story is laughable. We have one retailer saying publicly that he might need to buy from a supermarket, one who sells 30 sandwiches a week and a Premier retailer who was buying product from van sales that he could have sourced from Booker, supposedly his supply partner.

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  • One of the reasons for kerry collapse other than poundland and wh smith contracts going was that upper management had no idea how to run the business, VSR's were made to serve customers with about a ten pound maximum sale which would actually cost us money by going there all rounds should have been streamlined to give rep more time to sell to shops that actually wanted to buy and non profitable customers should have been stopped any sales loss from these would have been gained by extra sales from profitable customers so less mileage more sales happier customer base better profit margin and no worrying about number of buying calls

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  • We were left with no supply following this however have been able to source some from the local Booker. For chilled I spoke to Ginsters and their Sales Office had phoned me back within an hour and had agreed to supply me with sandwiches

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  • I have worked for Kerry fresh and the company they bought out Welsh Pantry then renamed Stocked Ltd , and am.veey sad at the news, I could see how these companies we're run and got out about 3 years ago . I went to another company that many people will be surprised to read are now going big on the retail front that was Peter's pies, now called Peter's food service . If you have a Peter's Depot around your area , phone them a call and see what we can do .

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  • Sorry on the above spelling predictive, can't edit for some reason ??

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  • I echo the comments made by 'Wolsey Cat'. Senior management were fixated on buying calls served irrespective of value. This meant that sales staff had insufficient time to spend with the better customers and it was always about quantity not quality.

    Ironically the latest Director responsible for sales (there have been a few) claimed that the break-even point for a visit was £47 net sales. Despite this, there was no cull of low-spending calls and sales staff were going daily to calls with a sales value of £10 or less.

    The business was full of managers and Directors who spent no time meeting customers or their sales staff. They all claimed to be experts in the chilled foods sector but they really didn't understand their market, their customers or their sales people. The Directors and senior management should hang their heads in shame, for the failure of this business is directly attributable to their failings. The P&H failure may have bought them another few months but that is all. The business was still losing money hand over fist.

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  • Seems that the guys who worked for the company have identified the problems. The £47 claimed as the break even point is obviously an average. Imagine the loss made supplying the customer quoted in the article who sells 30 sandwiches a week and by his own admission is in the middle of nowhere.

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  • Van sales are really only geared for TINY orders.Hardly surprising that it has gone Pete Tong for Kerryfresh.Not profit making for them so bye bye.

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  • Precisely Professor Calba. If the business nurtured the larger independents rather than trying to be all things to all men they would have had a chance. Senior management knew the issues and failed to act.

    KerryFresh also failed to get the balance right between margins and volume. If you assume that 80-90% of the costs are already incurred by the time the sales person arrives at the door, then getting the price right to maximise mix, profit and volumes was essential.

    Senior managers either failed to understand the dynamics and drivers of the business or they failed to act.

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