500 jobs in the balance as Elkes Biscuits crumbles

Digestives, oaties and custard creams could disappear from shelves as a major biscuit manufacturer reaches the brink of collapse.

Elkes Biscuits, which bakes own-brand goods for supermarkets, could close its “significantly loss making” site and wipe out over 500 jobs.

It has operated from a factory in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire since 1908 but is no longer “commercially viable”.

Speaking to the Grocery Gazette, a spokesman for Elkes said it had been hit hard by inflation and cost pressures.

READ MORE: Border Biscuits doubles shelf space at Sainsbury’s

He added that although the company is “exploring the full range of options available”, it has not secured a “viable offer”.

It comes as Elkes owner 2 Sisters seeks to revive its fortunes by focusing on its poultry and ready meal brands.

Trade union Unite claimed that the factory closure would be an “economic catastrophe” for employees and local businesses.

“It is Uttoxeter’s biggest employer so the knock-on impact on the shops and hospitality outlets that rely on the spending power of the workforce would be substantial,” regional officer Rick Coyle said.

“We know that Elkes Biscuits has a wide range of biscuits that are very popular with consumers, and this is underpinned by a dedicated and hardworking workforce. 

“All these factors make it an attractive proposition to another company wishing to buy the site.”

2 Sisters picked up Elkes a decade ago as part of a £342 million deal to buy manufacturing giant Northern Foods.

It offloaded most of the Northern assets in 2018 following years of losses and a food safety scandal.

While its Fox’s Biscuits brand was sold to Ferrero for £246 million last year, Elkes was not part of the acquisition.

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