Wholesalers answer Defra survey in huge numbers

In what is believed to be the largest-ever collaboration across the wholesale sector, more than 300 FWD members have contributed to a Defra survey on the impact of Covid-19 on their businesses and the financial assistance required to sustain food supply to their 350,000 foodservice customers.

The overwhelming response represents around 90% of the sector’s turnover and underlines the scale of the challenge facing foodservice distributors, who have received no sector-specific support since the start of the Covid crisis.

“There’s never been a clearer demonstration of collaboration within wholesale and the determination with which our members are fighting to preserve supply not only to hospitality, but to the education, care and health sectors as well,” said FWD Chief Executive James Bielby.

“Defra’s food security team has assured us that the impact on wholesale is at the very top of its agenda, but any policy decisions will be built on a solid evidence base. The comprehensive response from our members to this data request demonstrates just how willing they are to provide government with the tools it needs to make informed decisions.

“We’re confident this survey will demonstrate the need for urgent financial support to ensure continuity of supply and we will be working closely with Defra via both this and high-level roundtables of officials and wholesalers to drive government support.”

Defra officials will analyse the survey responses, which will be discussed with the industry, including via a new wholesale-specific sub-group of the Food Resilience Industry Forum which will involve senior executives of FWD members.

coronavirus covid-19 FWD Government James Bielby