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35 new jobs at Fakenham factory

PUBLISHED: 10:57 08 May 2009 | UPDATED: 10:49 07 July 2010

New jobs are to be created in Norfolk's frozen food sector thanks to new contracts for the owner of the Linda McCartney meat-free range.

Hain Celestial is creating 35 new production jobs at its Fakenham factory after winning two contracts for meat-free and dessert products for a multinational chain.

New jobs are to be created in Norfolk's frozen food sector thanks to new contracts for the owner of the Linda McCartney meat-free range.

Hain Celestial is creating 35 new production jobs at its Fakenham factory after winning two contracts for meat-free and dessert products for a multinational chain.

Following the contract wins, the firm is investing more than £1m converting a storage area into a production line.

The business produces its Linda McCartney range alongside own-label brands in Fakenham, where it employs 189 staff.

Hain Celestial bought the Holt Road site in 2006 and, since then, staffing at the factory has fluctuated between 220 in June 2006, under previous owner Heinz, to fewer than 150 as the firm struggled to match output with demand.

The most recent job cuts were in January, when the firm announced 17 losses. The factory's US-based parent company, Hain Frozen Foods, had said output exceeded demand, meaning production hours needed to be reduced.

However this week, David Matwij, head of operations for Hain Frozen Foods UK, said: “The fact that we have been able win these contracts and create new positions is great news for the local economy and demonstrates our commitment to growing our business in the UK.”

Announcing the group's results for the three months to the end of March, president and chief executive Irwin Simon said: “We are encouraged by recent business wins at our Fakenham facility in light of the challenges we have faced, including the under-utilisation of the plant.

“New volume will be coming into the plant starting very soon as we produce new frozen meat-free and dessert products.”

The group recorded net sales of $267.7m, up $3.1m compared to the previous year's third-quarter sales.

However, it said the quarter would have been $12.7m higher without the effect of foreign exchange rate changes between the periods.

Recently, the group's UK arm lost business at its Luton site after Marks and Spencer removed its contract for sandwiches. Hain said it would continue to supply 40 local M&S stores on a trial basis and the factory would be open until next April.


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