Cargill is to end the production of bread and battered products at a poultry plant in the UK city of Hereford after the loss of a contract to supply Asda, the country’s second-largest grocer.

?The move affects 230 jobs in Hereford, where Cargill employs around 2,000 staff across production, commercial, marketing, finance and procurement.

The posts to be affected at mainly at Cargill’s site on Yazor Road, the US agri-food giant said.

Cargill has a second plant, which focuses on primary processing, on the city’s Grandstand Road. The company said it has “opportunities across its sites” and insisted “every effort will be made to redeploy employees”.

Joe Clarke, a regional officer at UK trade union Unite, said: “We are talking about a 20 per cent cutback to the workforce at Yazor Road. It is early days in the consultation process, but we are quietly confident that we can avoid compulsory redundancies through voluntary redundancy and redeployment at the Grandstand Road plant.”

Cargill said its European chicken business would “further increase its focus” on growing its primary fresh chicken business. It added it would its continue to run its UK poultry processing operations in Hereford, Wolverhampton and Newent.