Artisan goes into administration

A major catering supplier has gone into administration, with the loss of up to 28 jobs, less than a year after launch.

Artisan, the processing operation set up by Steve Turton's TQ Foods and Gribbles Catering in a £3m deal last November, has fallen victim to emerging economic problems, with tough trading conditions and increasing supply costs being blamed.

The company operated a state-of-the-art plant in Heathfield Industrial Estate, Heathfield, Devon, and sourced, cut and delivered meat, poultry and game to catering operations throughout the south west, including Bovey Castle and Michael Caine's Gidleigh Park.

At the launch of Artisan, managing director Turton described the move as a "celebrated return to old-fashioned, traditional master butchery". Only recently, the company was working with EBLEX, giving butchery demonstrations to caterers, part of which focused on cheaper, alternative cuts to things such as fillet steak.

However, Robin Allen and Richard Hawes of Deloitte were appointed administrators of the firm last month. A statement from Deloitte said: "The administrators completed the existing customer orders, where possible, before the company ceased trading."

A spokeswoman said the company had been hit by difficult market conditions and was not being sold. No-one from Artisan was available for comment.

The news will be greeted with concern by the catering sector, with one industry insider warning it could be the first of many to fall victim to economic difficulties.

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