Good week, bad week (Wk 10)

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food

High street baker Greggs, new food manufacturing roles and Mondelēz International all feature in Good week, bad week; our sideways look at the past seven days in food and drink manufacturing.

Topping this week’s good news selection is Greggs, which posted total sales up 5.5% to £804M in year-end financial results on Wednesday March 4. In addition to a rise in own shop like-for-like sales of 4.5%, it also declared pre-tax profit, before exceptional items, up by 41.1%.

Greggs’s chief executive Roger Whiteside attributed the gains to an improved food offer and better shopping experience, as the business implemented its strategic plan to focus on food-on-the-go.

Coffee sales peaked at £1M a week

The business also disclosed coffee sales had peaked at £1M a week​ in the period before Christmas.

It was good news too for food manufacturing jobs, as 150 new jobs​ at Salisbury Poultry in Wrexham moved a step closer as the firm won local council planning permission to open a new  processing site.

Hull-based Chaucer Foods revealed 25 new jobs, with the addition of a third production line to expand its gluten free bakery.

More senior appointments were announced this week, as Müller UK & Ireland appointed Bergen Merey​ as the md of its Müller Dairy business.

Also former Diageo boss Ian Wright​ was named as Melanie Leech’s successor as director general of the Food and Drink Federation.

Good week

  • Greggs’s pre-tax profit up 41%
  • Salisbury Poultry wins approval for factory that will create 150 jobs
  • Chaucer Foods: 25 new jobs
  • Senior appointments at Müller and FDF

But it was less happy news for Morrisons’ former group treasurer, Paul Coyle, who was jailed for 12 months after being convicted of insider dealing of shares before the announcement of the retailer’s partnership with Ocado.

Morrisons management

The conviction was good news for Morrisons’ management, who was quick to point out the insider dealing was the result of lone wolf activity – not a systemic corporate failure.

Companies on the bad news list included: Mondelēz International, Arla Foods and Thorntons.

Mondelēz revealed plans to cut 200 jobs​ in Ireland in big restructuring plan. The firm planned to axe 160 jobs at its Cadbury chocolate plants in Coolock near Dublin and to close its chewing gum factory at Tallaght near the Irish capital next year. 

Bad week

  • Mondelēz to cut 200 jobs
  • Arla Foods faces strikes 
  • Thorntons took an £7.7M hit to its UK commercial sales

In a statement the firm said: “Global demand for gum is declining and the development of a new, superior technology for the production of end-to-end gum products supersedes the current technology in Tallaght.”

Arla Foods faced strikes over Easter​, unless it protected the terms of drivers it planned to outsource to Moran Logistics, warned trades unions Unite and the GMB,

Meanwhile, Thorntons took a £7.7M hit​ to its UK commercial sales in the first half of its financial year, after two major accounts significantly cut their orders. Sales to grocers and other third-party retailers fell by 12.4% to £54.7M.

But the results were sweetened by a near 20% boost to international sales, which reached £5.4M driven mainly by US gains. 

Meanwhile, order your copy of our sister title, the monthly magazine Food Manufacturehere​. For the latest roles in food and drink manufacturing, visit FoodManJobs​. 

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