Southern Salads, a UK-based fresh salads supplier, has gone into administration with blame being levelled at rising import prices for fresh vegetables after the Brexit vote last summer.
Tonbridge, Kent-based Southern Salads has ceased trading with immediate effect and administrator FRP Advisory said all but a handful of the company’s 260 employees are being laid off.
The firm supplied supermarkets, restaurants and travel chains across the UK with products including salad leaves, coleslaw, diced vegetables and deli items.
It had been trading for 30 years and hit GBP30m (US$38.6m) turnover in 2015. At its peak, Southern Salads was producing more than 50 tonnes of salad per day.
Ian Vickers, joint administrator at FRP, said the firm had struggled to cope with the increased cost of importing European supplies after the fall in value of the pound relative to the euro.
It had imported fresh vegetables and fruit from the Netherlands, Poland, France, Italy and Spain.
Vickers said: “With insufficient protection from its currency hedging arrangements, pressure increased on cash-flow as the business traded through to this Spring.
“The company was unsuccessful in negotiating any significant changes to its pricing terms with its suppliers in mainland Europe, while also being unable to pass on its cost increases to supermarkets and its other customers.”
Vickers also said expansion of Southern Salads’ production in 2014 put pressure on working capital and the expected increase in turnover “never materialised”.