McCain Foods has announced plans to close a frozen vegetable production plant in South Africa, with the loss of almost 800 jobs. 

The company is set to shut its site in George in the south of the country. McCain said the move came in response to growing margin pressure and competition from cheaper Chinese and European imports. 

“McCain has experienced significant margin pressure in the frozen retail vegetable category due to lower priced, lower quality imported products from westerEurope and China, which have proven more attractive to consumers in ten difficult economic conditions of the past five years,” Louis Wolthers, MD of McCain’s South African business, said. 

Wolthers said McCain’s margins would continue to fall unless the company could match the lower-priced products on the market.

The group has therefore been assessing ways to strip cost out of the business. Production at the George plant will be transferred to the firm’s other South African manfufacturing facility in Springs. 

McCain expects to wind down production at George in September or October. All jobs at the site, including 756 permanent and 41 seasonal positions, will be cut.