Supermarket chain Morrisons announced plans to launch its own seafood processing business today.
The company has acquired an empty factory in Grimsby and is equipping it for seafood production by the end of 2012 in a move that will see it produce 10,000 tonnes of seafood every year.
The move represents a further step in Morrisons’ strategy of manufacturing more of the fresh food that is sold in its stores itself, making efficiency savings that it hopes will allow for more affordable prices across its stores.
Around 200 jobs will be created at the Europa Business Park factory in Grimsby which will fillet and portion a wide variety of seafood.
“Nobody else is buying direct from the quayside but we’re doing it. Building this seafood business will allow us to move our fish from ‘catch to kitchen’ even more quickly,” said Dalton Philips, chief executive at Morrisons.
Martyn Fletcher, group manufacturing director, said: “Manufacturing is a crucial part of our business so increasing our strength in this area is vital as Morrisons continues to grow.”
In anticipation of the company’s move into seafood production in the UK, Morrisons recruited Frank Green as head of seafood trading in January, having previously been at Young’s Seafood.
Beneath Mr Green and in charge of the factory in Grimsby will be Howard Sims, managing director, and Rob Smith, head of operations.
Green, Sims and Smith have over 100 years of experience collectively in the seafood industry and the food retail sector.”
Morrisons will also shortly appoint a fisheries and aquaculture specialist to further develop their credentials in sourcing and sustainability.
Greg Clark MP, Minister for Cities, who visited Grimsby this week to talk about promoting growth in the area, said: “Grimsby has been through tough times, but this news from Morrisons is a real vote of confidence in the economic future of the area.
Mr Clark added: “This investment reinforces Grimsby’s position as the heart a vital cluster for the food processing industry, and will create valuable growth and jobs. I saw this week the positive difference this investment will make.”
Recruitment for the new roles, which will include managerial and factory operatives, will begin soon.