Belgian potato products manufacturer Agristo is to make Aunt Bessies lines

Belgian potato products manufacturer Agristo is to make Aunt Bessie's lines

A Heinz production plant in the UK is set to close after the end of the US food group's licence to manufacture Aunt Bessie's frozen potato lines.

The agreement finishes next year and the owner of Aunt Bessie's, William Jackson Food Group, has decided to bring the management of the brand's potato business in-house. Belgium-based potato products supplier Agristo will be the new manufacturer of the products.

Heinz said it was "deeply disappointed" to announce plans to close its site in the Norfolk town of North Walsham.

It insisted it did not have "sufficient manufacturing volume to keep the factory operational". Production at the plant, which employs 200 people, is slated to end between February and April.

Norman Soutar, CEO of William Jackson Food Group, said: "Our contract with Heinz reaches its natural end in 2015. Heinz has done a great job with our Aunt Bessie's potato business but we're now keen for it to join the rest of the Aunt Bessie's operations in-house, giving us greater influence over its management and long-term future direction.

"We scoured the UK and then Europe for new a supplier of potato products which would deliver the quality expected by our customers and selected Agristo."