Brands like Ambrosia will be run in business unit for sweet brands

Brands like Ambrosia will be run in business unit for sweet brands

Premier Foods plc, which owns brands including Ambrosia custard and Bisto gravy, has restructured its grocery operations and set up two business units.

One of the UK group's grocery divisions will focus on sweet products, including Mr Kipling cakes and Ambrosia custard. The other will push its savoury lines, including Bisto gravy, Batchelors soup and Sharwood's cooking sauces.

The new set-up will be overseen by sales director Ian Deste, who will become commercial director, reporting into recently-appointed COO Geoff Eaton.

Claire Harrison-Church, the former Sainsbury's executive who joined Premier in September as director of strategic marketing, will head the sweet business unit.

Helen Warren-Piper, who joined Premier from United Biscuits in October, will lead the savoury division.

The revamp is the latest change at Premier. Last month, the company announced Iwan Williams, the head of its bakery division, would leave as the Hovis manufacturer restructures its bread business. 

In October, Premier appointed Eaton, the former CEO of UK own-label firm Uniq, to the new role of COO. There were suggestions Williams could have been unhappy at Eaton's appointment.

Bob Spooner, head of Premier's supply chain, is now also running its bread business.

Last month, Premier announced 900 jobs were to go as part of a range of measures to reshape its bread business. The company plans to close two bakeries, cut over 100 distribution routes and revamp its logistics operations in a bid to cut costs from its bread arm.

Premier, operating in a UK bread sector dogged by promotions and excess capacity, is trying to shake up its bread business to cut costs and improve returns.

The company has even been reported to have hired Goldman Sachs to see what takeover interest there could be in its bread business, although it has refused to comment publicly on these claims.