Bakkavor meals_resized

Bakkavor has reported signs of recovery in some product areas as consumer habits adapt to the coronavirus pandemic.

Like-for-like UK revenue was down 19% year-on-year in April and was down 13% last month, the company stated in a trading update today (12 June).

“In the UK, the market remains volatile, frequency of shopping visits has reached historically low levels and consumer shopping habits continue to adjust and evolve,” Bakkavor reported.

It said performance in its meals, pizza, bread and desserts categories had steadily improved, although volumes were significantly lower in its salad and food-to-go products.

Bakkavor this week entered into consultations with employees at its Spalding site, where it has two salad factories, two meals factories and a distribution centre. The business plans to close one factory and change how it manages operations across the site, which will impact more than 500 workers.

The company today stated that relationships with its UK customers remained “very strong”, adding it had increased its market share and was working with customers to drive category growth and expand ranges that had been simplified at the start of the outbreak. It is restarting production at two factories temporarily closed in March.

“In the UK, consumer behaviours continue to adjust, and while it will take time for sales to return, I have been encouraged by the recent increase in volumes,” said Bakkavor chief executive Agust Gudmundsson. “Current events have also reinforced my confidence in the vital role we play in partnering with our customers to deliver the fresh, healthy and convenient food that consumers look for every day.

“In the US and China, both our businesses have managed incredibly well through the turmoil, and we continue to support our customers as they reopen their stores and restaurants.

“We are a robust, balanced and well capitalised group and the steps we are taking to protect our business, combined with the current improvement in trading, gives us every confidence for the future.”