A major UK producer of salad items has gone into administration with some 200 employees being made redundant as a result.

UK Salads, based in Harlow, north-east of London, was founded in 1992 and supplied salad items such as peppers, aubergines, cucumbers and tomatoes to major retailers, including the UK operation of German discounter Aldi.

Alastair Massey and Glyn Mummery, partners at business advisory firm FRP, were appointed as joint administrators to UK Salads on 28 February.

In a statement sent to Just Food, they said: “UK Salads was a well-established growing, packing and importing company supplying to major retailers, wholesalers, catering and the public. Unfortunately, following a period of challenging trading conditions, the business was unable to meet its financial obligations as they fell due, entered into administration and ceased to trade.

“This has resulted in around 200 redundancies, and the joint administrators will support those impacted in making claims to the Redundancy Payments Service.

“The joint administrators are now considering all options for the business and exploring interest from a number of parties. They will provide updates to creditors in due course.”

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While the exact “challenging trading conditions” behind UK Salads’ demise have not been outlined, the fresh produce industry has of late complained about issues such as inflationary pressures related to energy and transportation and higher labour costs as many suppliers had traditionally relied on foreign labour to get their produce out of the ground, a route not open to them under stricter rules around importing employees post-Brexit.

Just Food has asked UK Salads for its comments and has also asked Aldi UK about the impact this will have on its supplies of fresh produce.

An Aldi spokesperson said: “We are very sorry to hear this news and our thoughts are with all those affected. UK Salads has been a long-term partner to Aldi and over the past few months we have been working to support them and maintain availability across our stores.

“We are committed to reducing food waste, and we’re working with UK Salads, our global sourcing team and other supply partners to ensure that no crops go to waste. We’d like to reassure our customers that they will still be able to buy everything they need at Aldi.”

The last set of full accounts for UK Salads lodged with Companies House, the UK’s company register, covered the year to 31 October 2022.

During the period, the group’s turnover reached £69.2m ($87.8m), up from £51.1m a year earlier.

Operating profit was £789,198, versus £725,483. UK Salads made a net profit of £467,578, against £854,177 the year previous.