UK: Wyke Farms uses Facebook to aim for Morrisons re-listing
Wyke Farms has launched a Facebook campaign to get its cheddar re-listed by Morrisons after the UK retailer pulled the product.
Richard Clothier, Wyke's MD, said Morrisons had told the dairy firm its cheddar will no longer be sold at its stores from mid-September following an "e-auction" for shelf space.
Wyke's Mature, Extra Mature and Vintage cheddars have been on sale at Morrisons and Clothier said the news was "very disappointing" given sales had been "strong" and "progressing well" at around 40,000 units per week.
"We've supplied Morrisons for six years now. The sad thing is, coming through the start of the summer, Morrisons said we were a brand they wanted to work further with and then they did this auction to bid for space and some of the bigger companies came up with larger amounts of cash," he told just-food.
"It was quite a difficult process because they said they were going to reduce the number of [cheese] brands. They opened it up to brands not even listed in Morrisons and what it came down to was an arm wrestle between us and the bigger companies."
As a result, Wyke launched a campaign at the weekend, calling on consumers to tell Morrisons in-store customer services "if you wish to continue to buy your Wyke cheese in Morrisons".
Clothier said he had "struggled" to get any contact with Morrisons since the auction six weeks ago but has now managed to secure a meeting in two weeks time.
However, he says he is "not overly optimistic" about the outcome of the talks.
"The only thing that worries me slightly is that the meeting will be in two weeks and the products are coming off the shelves in mid-september. I'm hopeful they'll listen to the shoppers and realise that people really do value our brands."
Nonetheless, Clothier said Wyke still has listings with other major retailers.
"The business will go on. This [campaign] isn't about knocking Morrisons, this is about a style of trading and saying that it's important to listen to what shoppers want and understand that not all brands do the same thing. Just because we aren't a big plc or multinational organisation and have huge financial resource, it doesn't mean we're not a strong brand."
A Morrisons spokesperson said: "We took the decision to remove the Wyke Farm brand following an extensive category review of all of our pre-packed cheese. Feedback from customers was that there was a lot of duplication in our range and we are consequently trying to simplify it. The decision was also formed by our desire to have more of an own brand offering ahead of our category re-launch in September.”
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