A spokesman for Brakes told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “After a thorough strategic review of our Creative Foods dessert manufacturing business based in Torquay, we believe, under our current business priorities and in order to remain competitive in this market, that Brakes should consider outsourcing the production of these products.
“The proposal we will be discussing with our employees is that the products currently manufactured will, in future, be produced under licence by Ministry of Cake (part of the Greencore Group) based in Taunton.”
Food industry commentator Julian Wild, food group director at legal firm Rollits, believed the move to be indicative of Brakes’ wider long-term strategy to exit food manufacturing.
Exit food manufacturing
Wild told FoodManufacture.co.uk “There’s a big question mark over Brakes’ long-term commitment to food manufacturing because it’s not really what Brakes is about as a business. I’m not surprised by this move and I wouldn’t be surprised if it looked to outsource more.
“Manufacturing is not its core competence and there are people better equipped to do the job on its behalf. Greencore is probably one of them and capable of doing it more cost-effectively. As Brakes grows as a business, I’m not sure it would remain with an integrated food manufacturing offering.”
The jobs of about 90 staff are at risk at Creative Foods’ Torbay site, which makes sponge puddings, trifles and traditional British cakes for the foodservice industry.
A consultation process has begun with employees.
Product development teams
A Brakes spokesman said: “Under the proposal we will continue to develop and sell products using our existing dedicated sales and product development teams. We will be consulting with our colleagues based in Torquay over the coming days.”
Greencore’s Ministry of Cake facility in Taunton will be recruiting up to 40 staff to meet the additional demand. Greencore did not confirm whether Creative Foods’ staff would be offered jobs at the site.
A spokesman for Greencore told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Desserts manufacturer Ministry of Cake can confirm that it has reached an agreement with Brakes to transfer the production of their desserts range into the Ministry of Cake facility in Taunton during the first half of 2013.
Brakes was recently caught up in the horsemeat scandal when Creative Foods’ Lasagne and Spicy Beef Skewers Foods’, made by the Flintshire operation, were found to contain 1% horsemeat. The company said the outsourcing of the desserts business was “completely unrelated” to this and that it was the Creative Foods’ desserts business alone in consultation.