THE Icelandic Group this week finally closed its ready fish meals plant in Grimsby.
The Coldwater Seafoods factory, which made the meals for the retail sector, has ceased production with the loss of almost 200 jobs, around 50 less than feared when the announcement was made in January.
The meals division was concentrated in one of the company’s older factories and was a major supplier of fish to Tesco, Asda, Marks & Spencer.
At the time, chief executive Malcolm Eley – who has since left the business – said the meals element had never been profitable and that in order to continue, significant investment in one of the three Grimsby sites it owns was required. A drop in consumer demand was also blamed.
Production of fish meals for Marks & Spencer is thought to have been switched to the west coast, where earlier this year the 2 Sisters Food group announced a multi-million pound expansion of its ready meals plant at its Cavaghan & Gray Carlisle, creating around 90 jobs.
The company has equipped an 8,000 square foot production area for the task. The new facility came into operation this month and is expected to produce an additional 10 million ready fish meals a year.
In the past 12 months the company has undergone a significant shake-up in Grimsby, with rebranding and the departure of a number of key personnel.
The Icelandic Group still employs over 1,000 people in the Grimsby area at its other former Coldwater factory and at the Seachill site, which produces the award winning Saucy Fish range.