Food wholesaler lands £200,000 to diversify

An East Midlands independent food wholesaler has launched a home delivery service for its produce, after landing a funding deal from Lloyds Bank.

Amid extensive coronavirus disruption to its usual customer base, Derby-headquartered Zest Food Service has been able to diversify its offer after it secured a £200,000 loan from the lender via the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

Encouraged by significant initial demand, the business has also begun to run pop-up shops in Derby and its suburbs.

Zest Food Service normally supplies fruit, vegetables and other fresh foods to the canteens of blue-chip companies and restaurants, as well as schools and hotels. It also offers a wholesale service to the retail trade.

With the vast majority of its customer base currently closed, Zest’s new home delivery service now allows people across Derbyshire to order fruit and veg boxes, larder essentials and even a traditional cream tea to their front door.

Matthew Gummer, managing director at Zest Food Service, said: “Not only has this new funding allowed us to adapt and launch a new service to boost revenue, but it’s meant that we can continue to support operational customers where the need for fresh food is absolutely essential, such as care homes.

“The team at Lloyds Bank is helping us to trade through this difficult period and their help will mean we can resume our growth journey once we come through the other side of the pandemic.”

Christopher Pell, relationship manager at Lloyds Bank, said: “The agility of the team at Zest has been remarkable – they have acted fast to diversify in the face of extreme challenge, all while continuing to serve their most in-need customers.

“We’re working hard to help companies just like this navigate the disruption caused by COVID-19 and remain committed to being by their side, especially during this unprecedented period.”