Frozen chips maker McCain Foods to furlough staff at Whittlesey factory as demand falls
A leading food maker in Whittlesey is to furlough some staff after a slump in demand from restaurants and pubs forced to close by Covid-19 pandemic.
Frozen chips giant McCain Foods, which has 1,600 staff at its factories in Funthams Lane, Whittlesey, and at Grantham, Hull and Scarborough, says it will reduce its production until demand returns.
It says the call for its frozen potato products is up from supermarkets and other food retailers but the fall in sales from restaurants and pubs during the coronavirus crisis has left overall demand significantly down.
A spokesperson for McCain Foods (GB) said: “As the UK’s largest manufacturer of frozen potato products, McCain is the branded category leader in both the retail sector and the out of home sector, where we supply a significant proportion of the country’s restaurants, pubs and other food service outlets.
“While we continue to see strong sales of our products in supermarkets and retailers across the country, as a result of the shutting down of the hospitality sector, total demand has been significantly reduced.
“In response to this, we will be temporarily scaling back production to match reduced demand and will be furloughing some employees as part of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
“These temporary measures are to preserve jobs and ensure a sustainable business in the long term. We remain committed to all our employees and ongoing operations in the UK and, when customer demand dictates that full production resumes, we look forward to welcoming our employees back.
“All furloughed employees will maintain their existing salaries and we would like to thank all of our team for their commitment and understanding during these extraordinary times.
“We continue to work closely with our customers and partners to ensure the supply of our much-loved retail products for people to enjoy at home up and down the country.
“The health and safety of employees will remain our number one priority and additional measures are in place across all sites in line with government guidance.”