Cheese maker’s Facebook fight against Morrisons delisting gathers pace

By Anne Bruce and Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Wyke farms, Asda, Supermarket, Morrisons

Wyke Farm’s Facebook site has attracted nearly 10,000 likes
Wyke Farm’s Facebook site has attracted nearly 10,000 likes
A family cheese maker’s David-and-Goliath struggle to fight its delisting by Morrisons gathered pace this week as thousands of shoppers supported its Facebook campaign.

Wyke Farm’s Facebook ‘likes’ have doubled to reach nearly 10,000 since it launched its ‘Save Wyke Farms Cheddar’ campaign less than a week ago.

Comments from one supporter, Gill Alford, summed up the wave of messages posted on Facebook: “Damn these big supermarkets. It’s always the same: money, money money. Haven’t they got enough? Let the little firms get bigger for a change.”

Wyke Farms had supplied about 40,000 packs of cheese a week to Morrisons but was delisted following a blind tender.

Fair and ethical

Wyke Farm’s md Richard Clothier told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “If our cheese was not selling in Morrisons I would accept that. But it is selling well. We live in a commercial world but it should be fair and ethical.”

Clothier said he hoped Morrisons would relist the cheese next spring.

Earlier this week, a Morrisons’ spokesman 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.”

Meanwhile, the retailer told FoodManufacture.co.uk it expected to complete its controversial supplier review programme next month, although the process “will take as long as it takes”.

As revealed exclusively by this publication, the supermarket summoned hundreds of suppliers to head office briefings on June 18. They were told the retailer was seeking to source greater volumes from fewer suppliers, to increase efficiency and improve buying terms.

A Morrisons spokesman said the firm was not planning to make any comments on the review until it was complete, despite public complaints from disgruntled suppliers.

‘Get lost’

Suppliers told FoodManufacture.co.uk the terms Morrisons was looking for were “ridiculous”​, with the figure of half a million pounds cited, one said: “The message was: 'Double your investment or get lost.’”

A City analyst commented this week: “Morrisons is on the back foot and losing a bit of market share.

“There is always a major push-back from suppliers when a retailer does this sort of thing. The bigger ones are likely to be acting in a more confidential way, but one or two smaller suppliers always go public as they have less to lose.”

For more about the campaign, click here​.

To view Wyke Farm’s Facebook page, click here​.

Twitter users have been invited to support the campaign by using the hash tag #keepwykeinmorrisons and to post the message Keep Wyke Farms in! at @MorrisonsOffers.

  

Facebook support for Wyke Farms

  •  “Love your cheese ... fight the good fight! Grow up Morrisons!”​ Colin Smith
  • “Great cheese [I] buy it in Asda​.” George Tester
  • “Morrisons is just another greedy supermarket.”​ Jean Bain
  • “Always thought Morrisons was a family supermarket. Money wins again. Shame on Morrisons.”​ Ringo H Lewis

Related topics: Dairy-based ingredients, Dairy

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4 comments

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Facebook Announcement

Posted by Peter Crolla,

It has been announced on the Wyke Farms Facebook Page that from mid-September, Morrisons will no longer stock Wyke Farms products.

As a result, I will no longer shop at Morrisons, and I hope other people will do the same.

Wyke Farms cheese is my favourite. I will support the firm all the way.

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Wykes Cheese has taste

Posted by Martin Bull,

These large supermarkets can destroy smaller companies.

I have seen many companies invest large amounts of money to meet the spec requirements demanded only then to have their contract taken away because they won't reduce the price to the amount required.

Morrison is just another supermarket that I will refrain from using.

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No Respect

Posted by Peter Crolla,

Morrisons is an absolute disgrace.

If Morrisons cannot 'play fair' with their suppliers, then let the suppliers 'wave goodbye' to Morrisons and take their business elsewhere where they will get a fair deal. If Morrisons has no respect for their suppliers, they have no respect for their customers. Support Wyke Farms, shop elsewhere.

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