Focus Management Consultants Limited

Recruitment Specialists for the food and drink industry

Freshpack Goes Into Administration

Main Image 12 June 2018

Freshpack, a manufacturer of frozen pastry and ready meals, has fallen into administration.

The move means that 68 jobs are potentially at risk within their organisation.

Insolvency and administration process

Freshpack is based in Alsager, in Cheshire. A statement from the company said that they had entered insolvency, following a period of difficult trading which proved impossible to overcome. They will continue to operate while administrators seek a buyer for the business.

Dunham Dean Advisory have been selected to deal with the administration process, putting Matt Dunham in charge. Together with the directors of the company, he is in negotiations with both suppliers and retailers, trying to ensure that operations can continue to satisfy everyone while this process is carried out.

He was quick to extol the virtues of the company, hoping to attract a buyer who will be able to save the manufacturing jobs within the factory as well as keeping their supply chain afloat. He said, “Freshpack operates a fully equipped modern factory with a long-standing, skilled workforce and benefits from an established customer network. This provides a great opportunity for another manufacturer to extend their production facilities, develop new product lines and expand into new areas of the market.”

His words may not be altogether convincing to anyone who sees the company record; they have clearly fallen on hard times of late. The company was first established in 1952, giving them a long running record which will sadly be broken if no buyer is found. They supply ranges of ready meals, pies, and snack products in frozen form, both to discount stores and to major retailers. They create products under their own Freshback brand as well as making own-label products for their customers.

If the business is sold, there are 68 food jobs which will be saved – so those who work at the company are certainly keeping their fingers crossed for a good result.

Food industry closures

Freshpack are not the only company in the food industry to fall on hard times recently. Simano Foods, a curry and sauces manufacturer, also went into administration last month. The loss of several major contracts dealt a death blow to the business, leaving the owners with no way to answer their building trade liabilities. In that case, however, there was a happy ending – at least for now. The firm, based in Wigan, was bought out of insolvency. These means that the eleven employees managed to stay on and keep their jobs.

Russell Hume also went into administration back in February. Their demise was met with much controversy, after the meat supplier turned on the Food Standards Agency and blamed them for the closure. They cited “impossible trading conditions” after undergoing an FSA investigation. Whatever it was they were doing, it clearly didn’t sit well with investigators – who much have removed the main part of their business model, in order for it to have had so much of an impact.

The firm had been accused of not complying with food hygiene regulations before the FSA and Food Standards Scotland were called in. They had to cease production across all of their sites as a result, and products had to be recalled in January. That kind of failure is often catastrophic – and very difficult to recover from, even for a much larger company.

Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom. While some companies may be going into administration or downsizing their workforce, others are buying up the old factories and expanding their teams. The overall picture is not necessarily as dark as it may appear.

 

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