Premier Foods The Charnwood site in Leicestershire is to be closed at the end of July

Source: Premier Foods

Premier Foods’ Charnwood site in Leicestershire is to be closed at the end of July

Premier Foods is set to exit the frozen pizza bases market and close its Charnwood site in Leicestershire, which employs 57 people.

The St Albans-headquartered business revealed it has been steadily shifting away from third-party ingredients to focus on continued growth of its brands including Mr Kipling and Cadbury Cake with plans to invest further in its brand manufacturing sites.

Last year, it stepped back from producing non-branded powdered drinks and shut down a factory in Knighton, Staffordshire. The Charnwood site, which solely produces frozen pizza bases for a small number of customers in the out-of-home sector, is to cease production at the end of July.

“Our brands are the beating heart of our business and the main driver behind our strong performance over the past six years,” commented Premier Foods chief marketing officer Yilmaz Erceyes. “Given that focus, we are choosing to leave the market for commoditised ingredients such as frozen pizza bases, which don’t fit with our growth strategy and only contribute a very small fraction of our overall sales.

“I want to thank the team at Charnwood for everything they have done to help support the growth of our business as we continue our development as a leading producer of great food brands,” Erceyes added.

Premier Foods’ stable of brands – which also includes household names such as Ambrosia, Bisto, and Batchelors – was said to have generated the vast majority of its sales last year, which reached £1bn for the first time in a decade.

The company enjoyed its ‘biggest ever Christmas’ in 2023, reporting group revenue of £353.7m in its third trading update. This marked a 14.4% increase compared to the same period the year prior, with significant market share gains for the likes of Mr Kipling mince pies and Cadbury cake lines.

Mr Kipling ‘Best Ever’ Signature mince pies helped boost sales for Premier Foods last Christmas  2100x1400

Source: Premier Foods

Mr Kipling ‘Best Ever’ Signature mince pies

Looking ahead, Premier Foods said it was expecting to make capital investments of around £35m this year across its 13 remaining UK sites, which employ a combined workforce of roughly 4,000 staff.

Innovation was also highlighted as a key driver of long-term growth for the business, with brands demonstrating particular success with new category ventures. Premier Foods said that nearly 18% of branded sales are from innovations launched within the past seven years.

After introducing Ambrosia porridge pots in 2022, it further boosted its expansion into the breakfast category with the purchase of protein-rich breakfast brand Fuel10k last October.