Noble Foods is considering cutting jobs at its egg packing plants in Scotland and Lincolnshire, as it relocates operations to a newly built facility in Oxfordshire, the company has confirmed.
The firm says that it is currently consulting with potentially affected staff members on proposals to move part of its egg packing business from North Scarle in Lincoln and Thornton in Fife to a new facility in Standlake, Oxfordshire.
A spokesperson for the firm said: “The proposed changes mean that products will be graded and packed closer to supplier and distribution points, reducing food-miles and excessive movement of products.
“We regret the potential loss of jobs caused by the change and are absolutely committed to supporting affected staff. A formal consultation period is now underway and we are unable to comment any further until the proposals have been discussed with staff and a final decision made.”
Noble Foods, which claims to supply 72 million eggs per week to customers, is yet to confirm how many jobs could potentially be axed.
The news comes immediately after Andrew Cracknell joined the company as chief executive officer on January 14th. Mr Cracknell replaced Peter Thornton, who decided to step down after five years as head of the business.
Noble Foods announced last year that it planned to invest £9 million in an extra packing plant at Witney, Oxford. The company said it expected to finish the project early this year.
The Thornton facility packs eggs for customers in Scotland and the north of England. The business claims the new Lincoln plant is the largest free-range egg packing plant in the world.
It can handle more than 23 million eggs per week and has equipment that can automatically check eggs for size, grade and defects.
In addition to retailers’ own label eggs, the firm handles packing for its ‘Happy Egg’ and ‘Big & Fresh’ brands.
Noble Foods also processes egg products, Gü premium desserts and has poultry processing and feed milling interests.
In the past, the company has struggled with oversupply in the shell egg market, as European Union legislation banning battery cages meant newly built plants that were compliant with the new laws coexisted with older ones during a transition phase.