Icelandic Seachill warns of job losses after M&S contract loss

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Seachill warned of job losses after losing a key M&S contract
Seachill warned of job losses after losing a key M&S contract

Related tags: Icelandic seachill, Seafood

Icelandic Seachill, the fish supplier, has warned of job losses after losing a large contract with Marks & Spencer (M&S).

The contract, which was worth around £50–£60M, has been ended after a 30-year trading relationship with the retailer. 

This affects the coated, en croute and deli business, although the timing of the transfer of business is unknown, said the fish supplier.

Icelandic Seachill was founded in 1998 and is a supplier of prawn cocktails, party foods and fishcakes to the UK retail market. It also owns the Saucy Fish Co.

Simon Smith, chief executive officer at Icelandic Seachill, said: “We have been informed by M&S that they have chosen to give the contract for all their business with us to alternative suppliers. 

‘Large number of roles may be at risk’

“This decision will have a huge impact on our business and the unfortunate reality is that a large number of roles may be at risk.”

He said that the company was currently reviewing all “practicable alternative scenarios” ​but it was “early days”​.

“Our number one priority is to support those directly impacted by the decision that M&S have taken,”​ he said.  

However, he stressed that the business was stable and remained in “good shape”.​ 

M&S told FoodManufacture.co.uk that it had taken the decision to move fish, fish en croute and prawn cocktail products from Icelandic Seachill in Grimsby to three, existing M&S suppliers.

Production of its coated fish products was relocating to Grimsby-based Five Star, owned by 2 Sisters Food Group. Fish en croute meals manufacture was going to Freshcook in Spalding, while prawn cocktail product would be transferred to Greencore in Northampton.  

Food supply chain

M&S said: “As we grow our food business, improving the quality and capacity in our food supply chain is an important part of our strategy.

“The decision to move products from Icelandic Seachill to three other suppliers is not one we have taken lightly. However, we believe the move will further improve our fish offer and deliver new and exciting products for our customers.”

Last year, Young’s Seafood announced a possible 900 redundancies​ at its plants at Fraserburgh and Spey Valley following the loss of a major contract with Sainsbury. The supermarket transferred its £100M/year smoked salmon and fresh salmon contracts away from Young’s to Norwegian seafood business Marine Harvest.

In September 2015, Young’s revealed that it was to cut 650 jobs and retain 250 after reviewing its earlier plans.  

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2 comments

X food operative traywash hygiene line cleaner prep operative packing

Posted by Najmeddine,

I was working for X food supplier in scotland ,start in 4 2012 i did my best to succède and make a history from my position in différents département ,factory end up with 8 gold in 2013 +40 millions profite didnt get anything no bonus not even thank you ...i see peoples who done nothing except sabotages geting rewarded i know then is no chance or a future for food indistery in the uk i finish my contract after being treated unfairely and sent over deli's like a idiot ...its hard to be in the top and a big challenge To keep it

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Supplier's ludicrous marketing policy

Posted by SamWoe,

We've all been lulled into expanding bigger and bigger on the back of a major customer.
But anyone controlling a company MUST make their number one plan
'SET IN STONE!'
Do not put all your eggs in one basket. Whether you are a market trader or multi million pound operation. I recall many decades ago when in textile management, our marketing guy had signed up with a customer who was a major supplier to a national client. Progressively a bigger and bigger percentage of our total output plus obvious workforce - were employed on this client's work. Then it reduced to a trickle. Not through bad work or change of sales, as we were told. The ultimate customer had gone elsewhere. Our sales dropped through the floor.
Whether you are a market trader, or biggest operator in the land. Do not put all you eggs in one basket. Since if that customer departs or the marketplace changes Then atleast your outfit will progress with your remaining clients, albeit with a slight reduction.
Not a huge hole in the order book.
We've all been there, lulled into having a major major client - in some ways less
management needed but total exposure to the possibility of major changes.
Sometimes the alteration is slow,still a setback though - Plan for alternatives.
Irrespective of how long the partnership .relationship, a change of policy,the marketplace - Bang! One wakes up one morning and your world is collapsing.
That's why ever since my policy - Was spread your clientel. As a journalist even diverse sectors,never one title or press. Very much retired now. Even now buy
from a basket of retailers.
Meanwhile,I wish for the best of luck for the staff & communities now wondering about the future.

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