Duchy Originals, the UK organic food group, said today (24 July) it had agreed to sell a bakery in Cornwall to a unit of own-label food group Samworth Brothers.

Tamar Foods, a Cornwall-based ready meals and dessert maker, has acquired Duchy's site in Launceston for an undisclosed sum.

The sale comes just days after Duchy, which was set up by the Prince of Wales almost 20 years ago, was forced to deny it was to be sold to upmarket UK retailer Waitrose.

Tamar will produce Duchy's sweet dessert range under licence and will also make its own sweet dessert products at the site, Duchy said.

"Tamar Foods has an unrivalled reputation as a family-owned food company committed to producing British-made food and is therefore the perfect producer partner for us," a Duchy spokesperson told just-food.

Over the last year, Duchy has reduced the number of products it sells and pass responsibility for selling the company's products to its suppliers.

In the 2007/08 financial year, Duchy's profits stood at GBP151,717 (US$) compared with GBP793,432 a year earlier.

The Duchy spokesperson said the Launcestown bakery had reported losses last year but insisted the tie-up with Tamar would take the business forward.

"We have agreed a deal with Tamar Foods to ensure that the bakery is used to its full potential and because we believe that they are a good partner for us to grow our sweet dessert range," the spokesperson said.

"The bakery team is small (22 staff) and with the increased production that Tamar Foods will bring to the site we are hopeful that there will be very few redundancies, if any at all."