Scotland-based Browns Food Group is considering making a number of staff redundant following a Covid-19-linked reduction in business from the foodservice and food-to-go channels.

In a bid to cut costs following a marked decrease in turnover, Browns is entering into a period of collective consultation with employees. A figure of 63 possible redundancies, about a tenth of the company’s workforce, is being reported in the Scottish media.

In a statement sent to just-food, the Dumfriesshire business, which produces cooked meats, salmon, convenience foods and delicatessen items, said it has continued to manufacture produce throughout the Covid-19 crisis from its seven sites in “extremely difficult circumstances”.

It described the changed circumstances created by the pandemic, including people working from home and the closure of foodservice outlets, as “devastating for us”.

It said: “Overnight, we lost significant trade from our foodservice and food-to-go customers. We do not know how many of our customers will trade in the future and we know that a number have already ceased to trade and some whilst still owing us considerable sums of money.  

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“Others are telling us that there are already structural changes taking place in the way people shop, in the way people will work from home rather than large offices and in the number of online channels growing. Yet more are telling us their trade is unlikely to come back in any meaningful way this year and that they themselves are making or about to make redundancies due to the uncertainty of their business.”

Browns said it now has to face up to “a new reality of uncertainty” when it considers the next 12 months and beyond. 

“We must now take steps to support the long-term sustainability of our business,” it said.

With regards to possible job losses, it said no decision has been made at this time and it will continue to “look at ways of avoiding a redundancy situation throughout this period”.