Snack firm The Tayto Group may merge two of its plants following a decision by Procter & Gamble to discontinue production of Pringles Minis in the UK.

Group chief executive Paul Allen said the company was accelerating plans for a review of its manufacturing facilities following P&G's decision.

The group is considering a possible merger of its 250,000 sq ft plant in Corby, where Pringles Minis are made, and its plant at Wednesbury, which the company says is not structured to sustain "flexible and efficient" production in the medium to longer term.

"Tayto Group is now the third biggest crisp and snack manufacturer in the UK and we have a very clear vision for the development of our business," said Allen. "We have entered into consultation with all of the staff at both plants, as we are legally required to do, but we certainly don't anticipate making all these people redundant.

"The snack market is very competitive and dynamic, and this review - including the possibility that the Corby and Wednesbury sites could be merged - will significantly strengthen our position in the sector."
The review period will last 90 days, at which point the company is expected to make a decision on the future of its plants. The move could lead to the loss of around 300 jobs,

"The merger is only a possibility at the moment," a source close to Tayto told just-food. "The company decided to put out a consultation notice to inform staff and they are genuinely looking at all options. Pringles Mini accounted for a very small percentage of Tayto's overall turnover."

The Tayto Group employs around 1,400 people across the UK. It acquired the Golden Wonder manufacturing facility at Corby in January 2006, entering into a long-term production agreement with P&G.

Birmingham-based Red Mill Snack Foods was acquired in March this year. The review is expected to have "minimal" impact upon West Houghton, as well as the group's other plants at Scunthorpe, Wales and Tandragee, the company said.