More than 300 jobs at baker Tindale & Stanton hung in the balance as Food Manufacture went to press as administrators attempted to find a buyer for the business.
The company, which employs more than 200 people at its pies, pasties and savoury products plant in Burnopfield and just over 60 at its Gateshead bakery, also operates depots at Newton Aycliffe and Osset, West Yorkshire.
Administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers is in talks with several companies that have expressed an interest in buying the business.
A spokesman said: "We are looking to secure a rapid sale and are very keen to speak to anyone who might have an interest in acquiring all, or part, of the business or assets."
While the company had not suddenly lost a major contract, it had gradually seen demand dwindle as customers, such as fish and chip shops, lost business to other takeaway outlets, he said. It had also struggled to recoup rising raw materials and energy costs.