Aussie Farmers Direct in voluntary administration

Food and grocery delivery franchise Aussie Farmers Direct has closed down after going into voluntary administration.

Almost 100 franchisees have been hit by the closure of a company that began 13 years ago delivering fresh milk, cheese, bread and juice in Victoria.

The company had expanded to NSW, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the ACT within five years and was named the fastest growing franchise in Australia.

The business introduced organics to its local produce range and in 2016 broadened its product focus to include grocery items, a move that pushed it to compete with the supermarket giants in a tough retail environment exacerbated by low wage growth.

Administrator Craig Shepard at KordaMentha said the business had struggled to compete and had failed in attempts to recapitalise, partner or sell as a solution to its trading difficulties.

“Unfortunately, it is not possible to continue trading and the business will stop operating immediately,” Shepard said.

The decision was made by shareholders.

Shepard said the businesses’ logistics services Home Delivery Services, will continue to trade and is not affected by the administration.

He said most of the company’s debt is held by entities associated with local and overseas investors and there is no significant bank debt.

A creditors’ meeting will be called next week.

On its website, Aussie Farmers Direct posted a message of thanks for its franchisees, suppliers, staff and customers.