Family-owned Italian food producer Bolton Group has announced plans to shut a canned fish factory in Quimper in north-west France.

The site, which produces tinned mackerel and sardines, is expected to cease operations by the end of 2024, the company told Just Food.

Explaining its decision to shut the production site, the group said: “Since 2020, the company has experienced a strong decline in sales due to changes in consumer preferences, rising production costs, inflation and market share erosion caused by the gradual entry of private labels.”

All of these factors combined have brought on “excess production capacity”, it said, which has affected “all European sites within the group, necessitating production streamlining”.

Bolton added: “Despite efforts by staff and the company the utilisation of production capacity at the Quimper site remains one of the lowest in Bolton Food.”

The company is due to meet with employees at the Quimper site to discuss the closure and “the social support measures that may be proposed”.

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Bolton confirmed to Just Food that production of the canned fish brands would likely move to Spain or Agadir, Morrocco, following the closure. Around 155 permanent roles are said to be on the line.

The group’s canned fish brands include Saupiquet, Rio, Palmera, Isabel and Wild Planet.

Wild Planet’s producer, the US-based Wild Planet Foods, was snapped up by the Milan-headquartered food group in 2021 for an unknown sum.

The remainder of Bolton’s food portfolio includes the tinned mussels label Cuca, Simmenthal canned beef and Prima ketchup.

According to its website, Quimper is the company’s sole food production site in France. It owns seven other food manufacturing facilities in Europe and the US.

Bolton achieved revenues of €3.2bn ($3.44bn) in 2022. Food products made up over 40% of the company’s annual sales that year.