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Dunsters Farm Caterforce

Dunsters Farm is switching buying groups from Confex to Caterforce.

The education sector-focused wholesaler is set to join the foodservice buying group on 1 July, becoming its ninth member.

Dunsters Farm commercial director Tom Mathew has stepped down from Confex’s board of directors with immediate effect and will take up a place on the Caterforce equivalent.

Mathew told The Grocer the move would support its plans to expand into the frozen category within the next 12 months.

“We are delighted to be joining Caterforce and excited about the synergy and fit with the business we are now and our vision for the future,” he said. “We particularly look forward to working with Caterforce to expand our range for our customers.”

The wholesaler, which turned over £12m for the year ending 31 December 2019 has repeatedly called for government support during the pandemic after the business saw sales fall sharply during the national lockdowns throughout 2020 and 2021.

Caterforce MD Gary Mullineux said: “As a well-established family-run business, Dunsters Farm is a perfect addition to our membership.

“Forward-thinking and progressive, Dunsters Farm combines a modern business with traditional family values and its ambitious plans for growth align perfectly with ours. We’re delighted the Dunsters Farm team has chosen Caterforce to support it in its next phase of development.”

Dunsters Farm is based in Bury, Greater Manchester and supplies chilled and ambient foods to schools, hospitals, care homes, and hospitality outlets across the north.

Joint MD Hannah Barlow added: “Caterforce has an excellent knowledge of the market and we’re proud to be joining forces with such a well-respected buying group. We are keen to utilise Caterforce’s buying expertise to strengthen our position and increase the range we offer our customers, including hundreds of key frozen lines, which has been one of our priorities for 2021.”

Confex director Jessica Douglas commented: “We thank them for their contribution to making Confex the leading buying group in the UK and wish them well for the future.”

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