Cornish bakery firm W C Rowe is making around 40 redundancies following a major contract loss, believed to be with Tesco.

British Baker understands the Penryn bakery firm, which employs more than 500 members of staff, has lost its contract with the supermarket chain. However, Tesco refused to confirm this as the magazine went to press.

In an announcement last month, Rowe’s said: "We can confirm that, due to the loss of a significant production contract at our bakery on Kernick Industrial Estate in Penryn, we are now in the process of realigning staff numbers to make sure they are in line with production volumes. We regret that this has led to some redundancies from the Kernick site, which mainly produces our breads and sweet products.

"We have redeployed a number of people to one of the growth areas of the business namely our bakery on the Bickland Industrial Estate in Falmouth, which produces all of our pasties and other savoury products."

Rowe’s set out a five-year development strategy last July, proposing to expand its manufacturing facilities and take over the new industrial unit on the Bickland Industrial Estate.

The firm added that it still had ambitious growth plans for this part of its business and hoped to continue creating new local jobs.

Dave Dash, south-western regional officer for the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union, said that none of Rowe’s employees were members of its union, despite efforts to encourage them to join.

Rowe’s produces pasties, sausage rolls, pastries and baked goods from its 20 retail bakery locations in the south west and south of England, as well as six in-store own-branded counters at Asda outlets in St Austell, Plymouth, Falmouth, Poole, Bournemouth and Castlepoint. The company supplies a number of its products to UK super-market chains including Asda and Sainsbury’s.