Under plans announced in 2009, one of two facilities – in Batley and in Uttoxeter – had been earmarked for the new site, which would have led to the plant not chosen being closed. Union officials said at the time that over 800 jobs depended on the decision.
However, after Northern invested GBP26.5m (US$43.4m) in the two sites – and in a third in Kirkham – the UK food maker has decided to keep all three plants open.
The company said its investment programme, dubbed Project Golden, had led to around 300 jobs being reduced at the Batley and Uttoxer sites, although it said most of the affected staff took voluntary redundancy. Around 80 jobs were created at the Kirkham site.
Graham Hunter, MD of Fox’s, said: “Much has changed during the 18 month phase of Project Golden. The unprecedented investment made in all three of our sites has been successful and has helped Fox’s to grow and become even stronger in the UK biscuits market.”
Hunter added that Northern’s new owner, UK poultry-to-fish supplier 2 Sisters Food Group, had faith in the biscuits business.
“Fox’s has a new owner who believes in our business and who is excited about future growth prospects,” Hunter said. “With the integration process with 2 Sisters Food Group already started, with real progress in productivity and cost reduction and with further cost improvements planned, we have confirmed to our employees that none of the three Fox’s manufacturing sites will close as a result of this project.”