The FWD is encouraging the wholesale sector to supporting small businesses as it adapts to the growing coronavirus emergency.
This comes after Unitas and Confex were been forced to cancel their respective trade shows this month in light of the corona virus, with the latter now scheduled for a new date in July.
“With the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases increasing by the day, the federation has highlighted the need to work closely with customers as they deal with “unprecedented circumstances,” said FWD Chief Executive James Bielby. “The situation is developing daily and our sector’s priority is to ensure that retailers and caterers get the supplies and support they need to meet the current needs of their customers.”
“We know that local shops and foodservice outlets will be going out of their way to serve their communities in these unprecedented circumstances and that they are more flexible than their larger competitors, and very good at adapting and improvising. It’s likely to be tough for foodservice operators as diners may stay away, but their wholesalers are standing by to help where they can,” he added.
Speaking about Unitas cancelation, its managing director of Darren Goldney, said: “We have been in constant dialogue with all the main parties involved, as this situation has been developing including the Liverpool Exhibition Centre, hotels and caters etc and now that we have taken the decision not to go ahead next week, we are exploring our options moving forward and will endeavour to update you next week.”
“Following the outbreak of Covid-19, Confex is working closely with the FWD,” added Tom Gittins, managing director of Confex,“and in turn Government to ensure continual supply chain via the wholesale channel. We will continues to implement safety measures as the situation develops.”
The Sottish Wholesaler association (SWA), meanwhile, took part in a Scottish Government Food Sector Resilience Group call to discuss Covid-19 earlier this week and will continue to engage with the Government. “This is to ensure that the financial support required is there to support all businesses, including wholesalers, which are all suffering from the immediate crisis as well as rising business rates and operational costs,” explained its chief executive Colin Smith.