The hard work of being a small food producer


Derelict Farm Buildings


I’ve been doing some updating of posts recently, and have found it quite depressing at the number of businesses no longer trading, especially those that were really good.

So I don’t suppose this week’s report from Moore Stephens was any real surprise, as it said that the rate of food producers going bust has tripled in five years. Which is a very sad state of affairs, and of course the usual culprits shoulder much of the blame.

Pricing and payment terms were the things most to blame, and it always seems wrong when big companies expect small ones to shoulder costs for such long periods of time. I don’t think this is exclusive to the food industry (I heard a similar tale from building contractors recently) but I think it’s probably exagerrated by the dominance of the supermarkets.

Of course not every business I’ve written about was in this scenario, as many of them weren’t even supplying the supermarkets. It just goes to show that even the best idea is no guarantee of success, and there are many factors, internal and external, that can affect your business. It also means even more so to me that it’s important to go out and support small businesses.

And to doff our caps in admiration to those small businesses still doing it day after day. When I look back at some of the businesses I wrote about way back at the start in 2009, it’s good to see there are some still going from strength to strength: Gower Cottage Brownies, Brays Cottage Pork Pies, The Handmade Scotch Egg Company…but not for lack of effort on any of the owners behalfs.

Sometimes it’s graft, sometimes it’s a touch of luck and sometimes there’s nothing you can do to stop it being the wrong time for you as a business owner. To all embarking on the journey, I really do wish you well. And to the rest of us, let’s get out there and support the good ones.


Photo by Jan Bommes on Flickr.


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Helen Tarver

Collector of great gifts and fabulous food, mum, cake baker & eater, wine opener. I write about food and the gift of it in its many forms.

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