Leeds baking business owner fears for Christmas orders as 80% of production staff forced to isolate

A bottled baking business owner from Leeds said their Christmas orders could be significantly delayed due to 80% of his staff isolating after being 'pinged' - with a potentially huge financial impact.

Greg Fraser, 36, runs Bottled Baking Co. - a range of home baking mixes contained in reusable glass bottles.

Greg - from Leeds - first started to sell his creations at Kirkstall Deli Market but has now grown to be listed in John Lewis, Selfridges, Ocado, Notonthehighstreet.com, two distributors and around 200 independent retailers.

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The entrepreneur said lockdown had been an "amazing success" for his business, with orders rocketing by more than 200%.

Greg Fraser, 36, runs Bottled Baking Co. - a range of home baking mixes contained in reusable glass bottles.

The business is now operated from a warehouse in Church Fenton with packing staff.

However, the products are made in Driffield by a team of ten people.

Eight of the staff at the Driffield site have been 'pinged' in the last week - causing chaos for the company.

Greg told the YEP the business was due to ship their first Christmas orders in two weeks.

Greg Fraser, 36, runs Bottled Baking Co. - a range of home baking mixes contained in reusable glass bottles.

But due to production issues combined with the now isolating staff, Greg feared for the festive period for his company.

Speaking to the YEP, he said: "We’re all fine [in Church Fenton].

"However, we make the products in Driffield.

"We’ve got eight people making them full time as well as two management coordinators there.

"Eight of them are off at the moment having either been pinged, tested positive or isolating after sharing a car to work with someone that has tested positive.

"We are due to ship our first Christmas order in 2 weeks, and because of production issues with our Christmas labelling, we’ve no Christmas products made at all."

Greg said his business had received "thousands" of orders for their Christmas lines.

He added: "We’re also due to launch our new product line, Doggy Baking Co in three weeks.

"The product was due to go in to production this week, so that’s been halted for now too."

"Festive orders for the first two weeks of August are roughly £40,000 so far.

"They probably won’t be cancelled, but it’ll be a logistical nightmare to postpone and change deliveries to some of our stockists."

Retail bosses have urged shoppers not to stockpile and said there is “plenty of food” as supermarkets have also been hit by a “perfect storm” of self-isolating workers and prior staff shortages.

Supermarkets, such as the Co-op, said they are facing availability issues with some products, but stressed that shortages are “patchy” across stores.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said shop supplies are holding up but said Government action is needed immediately to avoid further empty shelves.

“I don’t think there is any need for members of the public to be stockpiling what they buy,” she said.

“There is plenty of food in the country.

“What we are seeing is pockets of issues in specific places where case numbers are particularly high and the most important thing is that the Government acts now before the situation does get more serious, so we don’t see more empty shelves in more places.”