The decision followed an ongoing review of the producer’s business model, in response to a significant and long-term decline in market demand that had led to bakery margins dropping severely. Linwoods planned to continue to operate the bakery until mid-October.
John Woods, joint managing director at Linwoods, said: “Our bakery team has worked incredibly hard and we have explored all possible options to avoid these job losses. This decision has not been taken lightly. It follows several efforts to find alternative solutions.
“Our priority is to secure as many jobs as we can for the future and to provide support for those impacted by this announcement. We will begin a 30-day consultation period, during which it is hoped that we can transfer approximately five or more employees across to our health food business.”
Linwoods said its Health Foods division would not be affected by today’s announcement.
Woods added: “Our health food business is growing and continues to be successful around the world. We are poised to grow this side of Linwoods and we are optimistic about what we can achieve in the years to come.”
Established 60 years ago as a small grocery shop, Linwoods now has 140 full-time employees in Northern Ireland and operates across two sites in Co Armagh.
In 2002, the company diversified and added health foods to its bakery and dairy business and now exports its health food products across the UK and Europe.
A number of manufacturers have announced plans to close bakeries in the past month.
Up to 100 jobs are at risk at one of Warburtons’ core bakeries in Newcastle, after the manufacturer announced plans to close the site.
Meanwhile, more than 400 jobs are under threat at Addo Food Group’s Spalding site after the chilled pastry specialist opened a consultation process to close the factory and transfer production to its Poole and Palethorpes bakeries.