Ready meal processor to make 70 staff redundant

By Lorraine Mullaney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags S&a foods Food

Perween Warsi's firm S&A Foods will be making 70 of its 500 staff redundant
Perween Warsi's firm S&A Foods will be making 70 of its 500 staff redundant
Derby-based ethnic food manufacturer S&A Foods plans to make up to 70 of its 500 staff redundant as it restructures its chilled ready meals business.

The redundancies will be phased in over several months.

S&A Foods’ md Des Kingsley said the restructure was “regrettable”​ but would enable the business to remain “competitive and sustainable”​ in an increasingly challenging trading environment.

In a statement issued to, Kingsley said: “After a detailed review, we have taken the difficult decision to restructure the business in order to reduce costs and improve operational efficiency. We will do our utmost to support those people who will be affected by this announcement, including helping them to find alternative employment.”

As part of its company reorganisation, S&A Foods plans to introduce new shift patterns, which it says will be discussed as part of a detailed consultation process involving employees and their representatives.

Voluntary redundancy

The company anticipates that a number of job losses will be achieved by voluntary redundancy.

The restructure will affect several areas of S&A Foods’ business.

A statement said: “All S&A Foods’ customers have been notified about the restructure and are understanding of the company’s decision.”

S&A Foods was founded by Perween Warsi who came to the UK from India in 1975. She began making samosas in her own kitchen in the 1980s because she was disappointed with the quality of the UK’s Indian cuisine.

She was still working from home when she won her first contract to supply ready meals to Asda. She said: “They ​[Asda] waited for our first factory to open as they had faith in our quality. I will never compromise on quality.”

Last year she won three awards​. Two were for the own-label curry she supplies to Asda and included Best Supermarket Curry at the Scottish Curry Awards and’s English Curry award. She was also crowned Food Manufacture’s personality of the year in December 2012.

Changing shopping habits

Last month a Which? Survey poll indicated that consumers were changing their shopping habits in the wake of the horsemeat scandal. The survey found that 60% of consumers had changed the way they shopped by moving away from processed food and ready meals. Consumer trust fell by 24% with 30% of consumers buying less processed meat and 24% buying fewer ready meals that contained meat.

However, Quorn – the UK’s biggest vegetarian ready meal brand – said it had seen sales more than double in the second half of February.

Mintel research also indicated that buying traceable, local and British food had risen “substantially”​ up consumers’ agendas since the horsemeat scandal​.

There is no suggestion that S&A Foods is in any way implicated in the horsemeat scandal.

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