Frozen food firms face further failures

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: English-language films, Stobart group

Overcapacity in the frozen foods sector means further casualties can be expected following last month’s closure of the Newcastle Productions’...

Overcapacity in the frozen foods sector means further casualties can be expected following last month’s closure of the Newcastle Productions’ facility at Longbenton​, which made products under the Findus brand, according to one of the UK’s leading frozen logistics specialists.

Tim Moran, cold store sales director for Yearsley Group, said further closures were likely. “It’s difficult to believe that there won’t be [further casualties],” said Moran. “There’s probably another chunk to go.”

Yearsley still holds some of Newcastle Productions’ stock, although Moran would not disclose how much, and is in discussions with its administrators from Zolfo Cooper.

Yearsley recently acquired five more cold storage and distribution depots in deals valued at more than £20M. The purchase of the freehold on these premises brings the number of deports operated by the group to 13.

The five depots at Bristol, Scunthorpe, Chesterfield and Newark were originally leased by Innovate Logistics, the frozen arm of which Yearsley acquired in July last year following Innovate Logistics’ collapse. Stobart Group took over the chilled and ambient parts of the business.

“The ongoing successful integration of the Innovate Frozen business and the signing of several long term storage and distribution contracts with major blue chip clients meant we had to guarantee quality storage space,” said Yearsley md Harry Yearsley. Further depots were likely to be purchased, he added.

Yearsley operates a total of 330,000 frozen pallet places, with 300 vehicles moving over 50,000 pallets a week.

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