Asda today (30 January) confirmed that it will terminate its supply contract with Vion Foods lamb business, Welsh Country Foods. 

Vion has warned it could be forced to close a Welsh Country Foods facility in Angelsey after the loss of a contract to supply Asda. According to the group, Asda accounts for around 50% of the site’s business. Around 350 jobs would be lost if the facility is closed.

Asda has faced criticism from unions representing Welsh Country workers. The retailer said earlier this week it had entered into “constructive” talks over the decision following a boycott call from the Unite union. 

However, this morning the supermarket group said its decision to end the contract stood.

“We have taken time to review Welsh Country Foods’ challenges to the termination of its contract. Unfortunately, our decision to end our supply relationship remains. We appreciate how disappointing this news will be for Welsh Country Foods but we want to reassure everyone that this decision was not taken lightly,” a spokesperson for the group said.

The spokesperson emphasised Welsh lamb would still be available at Asda stores and revealed the new contract has been awarded to Dunbia, whose facilities are based in Llanybydder in Carmarthenshire.
“While we have decided to end our supply relationship with Welsh Country Foods, we look forward to working with Dunbia so we can continue to help support the Welsh lamb industry and its farmers.”

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In November, Dutch food group Vion announced plans to quit the UK. The company has put its businesses in the country up for sale and the group’s pork unit has been sold under an MBO.