UK business Linwoods has decided to exit the bakery market to focus on “health” products such as flaxseed and hemp protein.

The company, based in Northern Ireland, is closing its bakery in Armagh, a move that will see 70 jobs go.

“Linwoods Health Foods is growing and continues to be successful around the world. The company exports its products across the UK and Europe. Its focus and investment will now be placed on this side of the business,” the business told just-food in a statement.

Last year, Linwoods cut 90 jobs in response to changing “customers’ buying habits”, the company said at the time. Then, Linwoods said its “focus and investment” would on its health-foods business but underlined its contract bakery operations would remain.

In a statement, John Woods, joint managing director at Linwoods, said yesterday (23 July): “This is a sad day for the company as we let go of one of the cornerstones of our business which has been integral to building the Linwoods’ brand. Our bakery team has worked incredibly hard and we have explored all possible options to avoid these job losses. This decision has not been taken lightly. It follows several efforts to find alternative solutions.

“Our priority is to secure as many jobs as we can for the future and to provide support for those impacted by this announcement. We will begin a 30-day consultation period during which it is hoped that we can transfer approximately five or more employees across to our health food business. We plan to continue to operate the bakery until mid-October.”

He added: “Our health food business is growing and continues to be successful around the world. We are poised to grow this side of Linwoods and we are optimistic about what we can achieve in the years to come.”