How it all went wrong for Farmdrop

Pugh, who stepped down as chief before the pandemic, seemed sure the company would emerge from Covid as a winner. 

On a podcast last February, he said: “There is so much hairy stuff going on out there, and there is so much suffering, you can’t start cheering about all of this just because you happen to be in one of the places where you’re having a big demand bounce. 

“But the reality is, pre-Covid, less than 10pc of the UK had shopped online and with lockdowns and everything else, it has massively accelerated demand for that grocery channel.” 

Soon, however, the website faced fierce competition from Britain’s established grocers, which in some cases doubled their online delivery slots overnight. 

Private equity observers suggest the start-up’s premium offering never truly took off beyond the affluent areas of London, making it difficult to scale profitably. 

“The [supply chain] intentions were noble, but the prices were too prohibitive for most,” says an industry executive. 

While early adopters lamented its demise, customers left with outstanding Christmas orders and disgruntled suppliers due money took to social media to berate the firm.

One employee, meanwhile, claimed some staff were told over email that they no longer had jobs. Others threatened legal action, arguing that Farmdrop failed to consult its employees properly during the redundancy process. Law firm Simpson Millar was contacted by many of the workers who were made redundant. 

A group of farmers and former suppliers – Sladesdown Meat, Sole of Discretion, Purton House Organics and Perdon Organics – have formed a collective to continue supplying Farmdrop customers and avoid lost sales and food waste after the company went bust.

A spokesperson for administrators at RMT Accountants & Business Advisors said: “Following our appointment, all creditors were written to and notified of our appointment, and the process for submitting claims for amounts that may be owed to them was set out.

“Our work has included actively contacting suppliers to invite them to submit claims to recover stock that had not been paid for, where trading terms were in place allowing them to do so.

“The vast majority of the claims to recover stock have now been adjudicated, and suppliers with valid claims have been invited to collect their stock. The administration process is currently ongoing.”

For now, all suppliers, employees and other creditors, including lenders, can do is wait to see if there is any leftover money for their pockets.

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