Palmer and Harvey have scrapped their recently launched baked goods delivery scheme Bakedirect, making some staff working on the scheme redundant.

The project was launched in December 2016 in partnership with Warburtons, McVities, Premier Foods and Carrs Foods, offering London based independent retailers regular deliveries with no charges and a sale on return basis.

At the time, Noel Robinson, their MD of direct van sales stated, “We look forward to working closely with our suppliers on this new venture, with the view to further expand the Bakedirect offer in the future.”

However, a spokesperson From P&H told Retail Express that the cancellation of the service was because it had “achieved its objectives” by providing Warburtons with additional locations. They added that Warburtons would be taking over some of the services previously covered by Bakedirect.

Retail Express asked Warburtons why the project was cancelled and the company answered: “Following a six month review of the Bakedirect trial in London and the South East, we have taken the decision mutually with Palmer & Harvey (P&H) to close the operation. Despite ceasing activity, the partnership was a success, allowing us to increase the distribution of our products to 1,000 new independent retail outlets.”

Amit Patel from Belvedere News, Food and Wine in Kent was one of the 1,000 new retailers. Patel told Retail Express: “We built up a client base for Warburton bread as we were the only independent selling their goods in the area, since the service has ceased we have not received a delivery from Warburton direct which I believe we were meant to have received.”

Gaurave Sood, from Neelam Convenience & Post Office took part in the scheme and was also part of a panel of retail experts that helped build the service. He added: “This service was such a relief for us and if i knew it was temporary then i would never have supported it.

“On reflection, full SOR, same price as cash and carry and the 3 deliveries a week should have rung alarm bells and kicked on the ‘its too good to be true!’ switch but we too got duped.”

Premier Foods became a Bakedirect partner at launch to distribute their Mr Kipling and Cadbury Cake brands to independent retailers. A spokesperson from Premier Foods told Retail Express: “Premier Foods partnered with Bakedirect to distribute Mr Kipling and Cadbury Cakes to independent retailers last year. We will continue to work with Palmer & Harvey’s alternative direct van sales services and have multiple routes to market for the independent and convenience channel.”

At launch, the scheme included 25 van drivers delivering to anywhere within the M25, supported by P&H customer sales representatives. An anonymous employee told BetterRetailing: “Everyone in Bakedirect, despite their hard work has been laid off.” A spokesperson for P&H responded to redundancy claims stating: “The majority of Bakedirect staff were redeployed elsewhere within the business.”

Palmer and Harvey’s other more established direct van sales services such as Snacksdirect, Sweetdirect and foodservice are understood to be unaffected by the changes. The recently expanded Drinksdirect service is also expected to continue.

Retail Express also approached P&H and McVities for more information and are awaiting their responses.

Do it: Email if you’ve been affected by the scheme’s closure.