Produce World plans to axe 340 staff in Lincolnshire

Produce World, Buterwick Image copyright Google
Image caption Produce World plans to close its Butterwick site, pictured, and its plant in Swinderby

A vegetable grower has announced plans to close two of its sites in Lincolnshire, with a loss of 340 jobs.

Produce World plans to shut its plant in Butterwick, near Boston, which employs 250 people, and its Swinderby site, which has 90 staff.

The Peterborough-based company said "changing" shopping habits were partly to blame for the proposed closures.

However, it says it is creating 60 jobs in Wykeham by entering a joint venture with Lincolnshire Field Products.

Produce World said it had started consultations with staff and both sites would remain open for a number of months until a decision was made.

It said "a number" of new jobs would be created at another joint venture site in Isleham, Cambridgeshire.

'Unprecedented competition'

Neil Fraser, executive chairman, said the firm was changing to meet "future challenges in the industry".

"We are operating in a low-margin business and more consolidation across the industry is inevitable," he said.

"At the same time our customers are experiencing a period of unprecedented competition and changing consumer shopping habits.

"We are very much aware of the impact that the proposed closures will have on our colleagues at Butterwick and Swinderby, and we have considered, and will consider, every possible option before implementing these proposals."

The firm, which started in 1898, is one of Europe's largest vegetable growers and has sites in Peterborough, Spalding, Ely and Chatteris in Cambridgeshire.

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