Northampton sandwich-making giant pledges jobs boost to prepare for Covid recovery

Greencore lost £1.8m in half-year to March, but is taking on 5,000 workers at sites including Moulton Park

By Kevin Nicholls
Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 9:42 am

Sandwich-maker Greencore lost £1.8million in six months to March in the wake of last year's Covid-19 outbreak at its Northampton factory.

But the Dublin-based company is promising a massive jobs boost at the Moulton Park site ahead of an anticipated bounce back.

Greencore — which employs around 1,800 workers at Moulton Park — today revealed its revenues fell 19 per cent to £577m for the six months, resulting in a loss of £1.8m, down from £27.3m of pre-tax profits in the same period a year earlier.

Greencore employs 1,800 workers at its Moulton Park operation

The food-to-go market has been hard hit by people working form home during the pandemic.

But chief executive Patrick Coveney told Sky News that Greencore has secured new business worth £175m a year in sales with revenues now back to only about five percent below pre- Covid levels.

He said the hiring would mainly be in sandwich, salad and sushi facilities in Worksop, London, Northampton, Lincolnshire and Liverpool.

He added: "We're probably going to bring about 5,000 new people into our production and supply chain network between March 1 and July 1 and that's a big step-up and does require us to be able to on-board safely lots of new people.

Greencore chief executive Patrick Coveney

"They would be the biggest areas where we're looking to bring new people into the business to meet this very, very strong rebound in demand as the restrictions are being eased.

“This has been a challenging period for Greencore but the consistent build in our revenues since early March as lockdown measures have eased and Covid-19 cases have fallen give us real cause for optimism.

“We are confident of being able to build back the business rapidly and profitably, and are optimistic about the medium-term prospects for Greencore.”

Bosses revealed the extra steps being taken to avoid any repeat of last summer's outbreak of 300-plus Covid-19 cases which led to the Moulton Park site being shut down.

The company's interim financial report said: "Greencore’s people are at the core of its purpose and its success, and keeping colleagues safe has remained a key priority through Covid-19.

"The increasing number of cases and the severity of the new virus strains has required the Group to take incremental safety actions to ensure that all is being done within the business to mitigate the impact of the virus and to keep colleagues safe.

"In addition to undertaking Covid-19 risk assessments and site-specific action plans across every manufacturing location, the Group also worked with the UK Department of Health and Social Care to implement weekly lateral flow testing across seven manufacturing sites providing access to testing for over half of Group employees. "