Fresh prepared food supplier Bakkavor Group has proposed the closure of two UK sites, as it reports the economic backdrop and consumer sentiment in the UK “remains very challenging”.
Currently, the company has 15,800 colleagues working across 29 UK sites and says its resilience is “underpinned by our scale and agility in response to changing market conditions” to ensure continued service to customers and secure a sustainable, long-term future.
Reported in the company’s Half Year Results in September 2022, the level of inflation and consumer headwinds are expected to persist into next year and remain significant challenges for the company.
Recent investments across the company’s UK operations provide them with a strong platform, it says, to leverage scale and flexibility. However, in light of recent challenges, it has undertaken a detailed review of its UK footprint and made the decision to close two UK sites: Bakkavor Salads in Sutton Bridge, Lincolnshire, and Bakkavor Desserts in Leicester. Other UK sites are expected to have the capacity and capabilities to continue fully servicing customers going forward.
Across the two sites over 900 employees work there, who are expected to be impacted by the closure. Following on from the announcement, Bakkavor is commencing a 45-day consultant period with the affected colleagues and representatives at both sites.
It will do what it can to support the colleagues and minimise job losses, it says, either by offering the colleagues comparable roles at a different site or where this is not possible, working on initiatives to help colleagues secure alternative employment opportunities in the local area.
“As with businesses all over the UK, we are having to take decisive action to adapt to the challenging macro-economic backdrop,” explained Mike Edwards, CEO at Bakkavor. “The decision to close any site is never taken lightly, and we do not underestimate the impact of this announcement on our colleagues and the local communities within which we operate. We remain committed to both protecting our business and doing everything we can to support our people through this difficult time.”
This announcement comes after a recent study conducted by Bakkavor which revealed that for UK consumers, the cost-of-living crisis has impacted on behaviour as 47% of people are reducing typical spend on takeaways and 47% are compromising on essentials. In light of the study, Mary Kirk, Head of Insight at Bakkavor said the cost-of-living crisis is “a real concern” and food shopping is “one of the big monthly costs for many households”.
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