Wholesalers have seen an improvement in stock availability after a phone meeting between the FWD, some industry figures and Government officials.
It was explained to the officials how suppliers’ allocations were based on historic sales data that did not reflect current patterns, with convenience stores instead witnessing above average sales on certain products since the lockdown began. Suppliers have then been failing to fulfil orders, leading to reduced availability.
FWD chief executive James Bielby said: “We’ve had a very positive response from government and suppliers to our calls for this obvious need for re-alignment to meet increased demand. 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’re 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.”