I have said for a while that there are too many companies in our sector that are hobby-businesses or part-time businesses for those that don’t really need the money. Whilst I realise that businesses quite often start like this (I did!) – if they haven’t grown to more than this several years later, it is a concern to me. Now, of course, there is no right or wrong in a way. People should be free to experiment and find extra ways of making food for others, and indeed, some of these products made by the part-timers are excellent.
There is, however, a disadvantage for other small suppliers who have put their necks on the line, left their jobs and set up manufacturing facilities. These people are also making fabulous products but find it more difficult to get their products on retailer’s shelves because there is a huge amount of competition for those centimetres of shelf. Some of this space is taken up by products either made or branded by these hobby business, who do not have their skin in the game. Three genuine businesses and Cotswold Fayre suppliers that had made investment and dived in to trying to create a real business have sadly gone out of business in the past month and won’t be featuring in our next catalogue, due out soon. I suppose this is a plea from me to retailers to give those food businesses a chance when there are people behind them, who have genuinely put their necks on the line. Too late for those three now, but there are many others out there who are struggling to make money.
It has also been a bad week for wholesalers with two going out of business, both of whom have been supply food retailers for 25 years plus. Goodness Foods based in Daventry and Samways Fine Foods both threw the towel in this week. For what reasons I do not know, but as I mentioned there are several other wholesalers trading their way down to the bottom currently as the market is too crowded. This is great for retailers but not if those companies that they rely on for supply go out of business. Some are managing the margin loss inevitable from offering huge discounts by, if effect, buying all their stock from producers on promotion i.e. only buying during promotional months and nothing for two months following. This devalues the producer’s brands and they will not let this continue for too long, I am sure.
I am off on holiday later next week on an interesting trip for the following two weeks to Georgia and Armenia – really looking forward to seeing what the food and drink tastes like over there. Did you know wine was first made in Georgia?