FWD calls for caterers’ support on short-dated stock

FWD Chair Coral Rose has appealed to caterers to join their wholesalers in preventing food waste and reducing residual stock in the supply chain.

In a message to FWD members’ 350,000 foodservice customers, the Country Range Group Managing Director said food distributors were standing by to help restaurants, cafes, pubs and hotels recover, despite having received none of the financial support from government that was offered to the hospitality sector.

Wholesalers entered the lockdown period with an estimate £20 million of stock in their warehouses which they were unable to sell on when their customers were forced to close. Now they are asking caterers to help stop ambient and frozen products going to waste.

“Some of the stalled stock in the supply chain is close to or beyond the Best Before date on its packaging, but still completely safe and legal for sale and consumption. Best Before is not an indication of food safety, and we have the support of Defra, the Food Standards Agency, WRAP and EU regulations in asking caterers to take these products as part of their order,” Rose wrote.

“WRAP has issued comprehensive guidance on the legality and safety of short-dated food which has been stored correctly though the lockdown. Wholesalers will provide the guidance when delivering and in some cases a letter from the manufacturer confirming the food is safe to sell on.”

She added that many wholesalers would not be able to purchase new products from manufacturers until their current stock had been sold on. “With limited income flowing up from the slowly re-emerging out-of-home sector, some are close to a catastrophic failure of supply to their customers,” she wrote.

“We need your support. On behalf of all wholesalers, I am appealing to our caterer partners to work with us to prevent food waste, reduce the surplus stock, and maintain diversity and competition in the food distribution network.”

Coral Rose coronavirus Country Range Group covid-19 Foodservice FWD wholesaler