The site, which was acquired from Kerry Foods in January this year, had been closed since 2012. Morrisons has since made a significant but undisclosed investment in filleting, packaging and chilling equipment.
The retailer and manufacturer currently processes 250t of fish a week at its existing 35,000m2 Grimsby site, while the new 120,000m2 site will double its fish processing capacity, said the firm’s head of seafood Rob Smith.
“We chose to expand our seafood operation in Grimsby because we know that there is a talented and knowledgeable workforce in this area that we are keen to attract,” Smith said.
“We have invested in the site to get it ready to take on the extra capacity and I’m now looking to build the team so we can continue to offer our shoppers a great range of fresh daily fish.”
Full production is expected
Morrisons’ fish manufacture:
- 250t output to double by 2016
- 155,000m2 of production facilities
- 220 staff needed
Phase one of the site will be operational by mid-August and full production is expected to be reached by early 2016, he added.
Significant amounts of money had also been invested in the company’s original Grimsby filleting plant, in a bid to help support the company’s growth in fish production, Smith said.
Mark Harrison, supply chain and projects director and former Morrisons’ board member, said after the acquisition in January: “Not only will we be able to supply a wider product range, but we’ll also be increasing the number of skilled jobs in the local area.
“The new space will mean we can manage the entire process of preparing fish ourselves and because that’s efficient, we’ll be able to offer even better value to our customers.”
The closure of the site under Kerry Foods, which was blamed on increased competition in the frozen ready meal sector, caused the loss of 337 jobs.
Acquired by Kerry Foods
Before it was acquired by Kerry Foods in 2010, the facility was owned by the UK ready meals firm Headland Foods.
Meanwhile, Morrisons has been challenged by the Groceries Code Adjudicator Christin Tacon to explain why it sent letters to some of its suppliers demanding impromptu payments.
The retailer and manufacturer, which boasted the largest sales growth of the big four retailers in June, asked its suppliers for money by email to fund recent investments.
The email read: “With half year approaching the business is reviewing the performance of each of its suppliers … [Within Morrisons stores] there has been yet more price investment on key essential lines and we have 6,700 more colleagues in stores supporting service.”
“All of this work has come at a significant cost to the business. We need your support to continue and build on this performance but not to the detriment of Morrisons’ profitability. To this end Morrisons’ expectation of [supplier name] is to support Morrisons with a lump sum payment of [£XXXX] payable by 17 July 2015.”
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