Indian ready meals firm S&A Foods axes 55 jobs

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Derby curry queen Perween Warsi is looking for 'potential investors' for her Indian ready meals business
Derby curry queen Perween Warsi is looking for 'potential investors' for her Indian ready meals business

Related tags: S&a foods, Ready meals, Food

Indian ready meals manufacturer S&A Foods is to axe 55 jobs in a restructure of its chilled meals business, while searching for investment partners.

The Derby-based food manufacturer said the firm was forced to restructure its business in a bid to cut costs and stay competitive in “an increasingly challenging” ​trading environment.

S&A Foods’s md Des Kingsley said the job losses followed a review of all aspects of the business. The restructure will allow the firm to “provide the best possible value and quality to our customers and, in turn, their shoppers”, ​said Kingsley.

All aspects of the business

The firm will do everything it can to support people affected by the restructure including, where appropriate, helping them to find alternative employment, he added.

S&A Foods hoped many of the 55 jobs, lost from a workforce of more than 400, would be achieved by voluntary redundancy. Plans to restructure the business, which will affect people at all levels and across all departments, have been discussed with employees’ representatives during a 30-day consultation process.

Kingsley said: “I am confident that S&A Foods will become the lowest cost operator in UK chilled ready meals production as a result of the restructure, strengthening the company’s future offer.”

Meanwhile, an S&A spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk that S&A Foods was in discussions with potential investors to help fund future expansion and new product development opportunities but refused to comment on press reports that founder and chief executive Perween Warsi was looking for a buyer for the business.

Discussions with potential investors

“Innovation and new product development have been hallmarks of S&A Foods’s success over the last quarter of a century,”​ said the spokesman. “In addition to its current business partnerships, the company is also focusing on future market opportunities.”

The firm planned to talk to a number of potential investors, and explore joint venture opportunities, which would enable the business to launch new products into new sectors of the food market, said the spokesman.

“There is a long way to go before the discussions reach a conclusion,”​ he added.

The business announced plans to make 70 staff redundant​ in April 2013.

Warsi won the Food Personality of the year award – part of the Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards​ – in 2012. Listen to her three top tips for budding food entrepreneurs here​. 

Moving 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. Warsi was still working from home when she won her first contract to supply ready meals to Asda.   

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