Spud sites set to close

POTATO PROCESSOR and packer MBM Produce is to sell two manufacturing sites in the Midlands.

MBM’s parent company, Premier Foods, blames the move on “pressures being felt across the industry” as retailers and other outlets look to streamline supply chains.

The loss of both the Coventry and Shrewsbury processing sites means MBM no longer has a processing site in the West Midlands area – a key potato-growing region.

Instead, all supplies will be handled at two sites in Cambridgeshire, said Brian Carlton, director of human resources at Premier Foods.

“This does not mean we no longer purchase potatoes from that area (West Midlands) but consolidation is a factor of efficient supply chain management. As with any business you need to review this to remain competitive.”

According to grower Andrew Watson-Jones, NFU potato representative for Shropshire, one of the counties worst hit by the change, the announcement came after loss of contracts with retail giants Tesco and Sainsbury.

“We, along with others, are still supplying MBM to its site at March, Cambs, but on a lower tonnage.

“I think the loss of contracts came equally as a shock to MBM as it did to growers.

“Fortunately, other processors in the area have taken up some of the volume, but MBM had always been a good business to work with,” said Mr Watson-Jones who grows 64ha (160 acres) of potatoes.


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