Samworth Brothers has entered the vegan space via its Ginsters brand

Samworth Brothers has entered the vegan space via its Ginsters brand

UK food group Samworth Brothers is considering turning a domestic facility into a manufacturing centre for plant-based products.

Samworth is consulting with staff at its Brooksby Foods arm's facility in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, in the English Midlands, about its plans.

In a statement sent to just-food, Samworth, itself based in Leicestershire, said: "We are consulting with colleagues at Brooksby Foods about a re-purposing of the site to produce plant-based lines. The consultation is on-going and has not concluded. If it did go ahead, the repurposed site would initially have 100-200 roles and we would be looking at redeploying other colleagues to other parts of the business where possible."

It has not said how many jobs could potentially be lost as a result of the change being considered.

The company said plant-based food production could begin in late summer if its consultations with staff are successful.

Samworth owns meat-heavy brands such as Cornish pasty brand Ginsters and pork pie specialist Dickinson & Morris but it has moved into plant-based offerings in recent times.

It has forged a relationship with UK meat alternative company Quorn based around its Ginsters brand.

Last year, the two companies teamed up to create the Ginsters Vegan Quorn Pasty and in February they launched a co-branded vegan sausage roll.

Kieran Hemsworth, Ginsters' managing director, said at the time: "We know 55% of all consumers are reducing their meat intake, yet choice for vegan rolls is very limited. This extension to our meat-free range has been developed to close the disparity between consumer demand and market choice."

Brooksby Foods was originally set up as an innovation site for Samworth's Kettleby Foods arm before becoming a stand-alone business in 2013. It produces ready-made meals on an own-label basis for customers including major supermarket groups.