A row has broken out between a Midlands-based contract caterer and supermarket giant Tesco.
Catermasters sparked a war of words with Tesco after claiming the supermarket chain had failed to honour its commitments in regards to a catering deal signed in January 2007.
The deal to feed staff at 13 of the supermarket's distribution facilities included 247 onsite catering jobs and contributed around a 16% of Catermasters annual turnover.
In a statement, the caterer said: "The initial relationship was based on a commitment from Tesco to invest in and improve staff catering and employee welfare benefits within the distribution centres."
"After several management changes with the Tesco distribution operation, the direction of the catering service changed to quantity over quality. Catermasters believed that they had to terminate the agreement in order to maintain our brand and its values."
But Tesco described the claims as "nonsense" and insisted that the year-long catering contract had been put up for re-tender as a matter of course.
"We strongly refute these claims," a Tesco spokesman said. "We re-tendered the catering contracts in distribution and found more favourable offers from alternative suppliers and, as such, Tesco has made the decision to move its business at an equivalent quality level."
Catermasters was set up in 1989 by Richard Moody and Nigel Johnson and counts Oxfam, the Learning and Skills Council and Oxford University Press amongst its clients.
By Chris Druce
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