Albert Bartlett buys Heinz Norfolk factory

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: North norfolk

Albert Bartlett processes and supplies potatoes and was founded in 1948
Albert Bartlett processes and supplies potatoes and was founded in 1948
Potato firm Albert Bartlett has bought Heinz UK’s Aunt Bessie’s potato factory at Westwick in Norfolk, which Heinz announced it proposed to close in October last year, threatening 200 jobs.

Albert Bartlett ceo Colin Smith confirmed that none of the staff previously working at the site and now made redundant would automatically transfer to Albert Bartlett.

“The recruitment process will start when we decide we are going to open it,”​ Smith told FoodManufacture.co.uk. “The site and the factory have been bought, not the business,” ​he stressed.

The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Heinz confirmed it had agreed the sale of the frozen potato factory site and assets after it closed at the end of this month.

Decision to close

The company said it had made the decision to close the frozen potato manufacturing site having explored all alternatives to find a buyer for the factory as a going concern.

It had also made every effort to avoid or limit the impact of a potential closure, but unfortunately no options proved viable, it said.

Proposals to close the plant followed the decision by the William Jackson Food Group, owner of the Aunt Bessie’s brand, not to renew the licence for Heinz to manufacture its frozen potato products there.

Insufficient volume

William Jackson Food Group claimed there was insufficient manufacturing volume to keep the factory operational.

Collective consultations with employee representatives concluded in February concerning the factory closure proposals and all employees would receive a full redundancy package under Heinz’s enhanced terms, it said.

“Heinz has also worked closely with local employment organisations and North Norfolk District Council officials to ensure the best opportunities for the loyal and committed workforce including a careers fair hosted last month,”​ the company said.

“Heinz has remained committed to ensuring all employees are treated in a fair and reasonable manner, and with dignity and respect.”

Related topics: Fresh produce, Frozen

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