Manufacturing director Mark Duffy said the proposal was part of a review of the producer’s manufacturing capability since its acquisition of popcorn brand Butterkist in 2017.
“Our review has concluded that we are over capacity across our popcorn manufacturing base,” said Duffy. “The Largo Foods UK site in Barnsley has expanded in recent years as business has grown. However the growth has resulted in us occupying a number of business units, and the space constraints drive increased costs and some technical challenges.”
90 jobs at risk
Size constraints at the Largo Foods factory would make it impossible to move Butterkist’s production into the site, but the reverse would be possible while retaining scope for future volume growth. Should the proposals be greenlighted, the Barnsley site would be closed later this year, with 90 jobs at risk of redundancy.
“If our proposal goes ahead, we anticipate 31 roles being available at Pontefract as likely mitigation for Barnsley colleagues. We will work with impacted employees to place them into suitable roles at Pontefract, or where opportunities become available at other KP sites,” Duffy added.
“We recognise the proposal will cause a lot of uncertainty for people and we will support our colleagues during the consultation process, ensuring that we are regularly communicating with them.”
KP Snacks has made a number of acquisitions in the past two years, expanding into the premium and healthier snacking categories with Tyrrells Potato Crisps and Popchips respectively, less than a year after its Butterkist acquisition.
Meanwhile, in October, KP Snacks aimed to create 20 jobs by pumping £6m into a new pellet production facility at its Billingham factory in Teesside, which makes Pom Bear, Hula Hoops Puft and McCoy's brands.