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2 May, 2007 - 11:54 By Staff Reporter

Sausage king buys MK food producer

Milton Keynes based food producer Delico is feeling a warm glow following its acquisition by London listed ‘sausage king,’ Cranswick – announcing the trebling of its workforce to 300 in the coming weeks.DeliCo, a six year old cooked meats manufacturer, was acquired by Hull head-quartered Cranswick in November in a cash and shares deal of undisclosed value.

With production set to soar in May, the factory is recruiting from Bucks, Beds, Northants and Herts to fill 200 new roles.

Key positions include supervisors, engineers, quality controllers as well as production staff.

Cranswick was formed by farmers in the early 1970’s to produce pig feed.

Activities have since been extended from this agricultural base into the food sector, where it has made a name for itself in the sausage industry, and pet sectors.

In a trading update issued last month, Cranswick said it expected total sales in the final quarter to be 20 per cent higher than the corresponding period last year.

Sales of food products increased by 22 per cent, with charcuterie, sausage and bacon showing particularly strong growth, the company said.

The pre-packed cooked meats market in the UK is valued in excess of £1.3 billion and continues to grow strongly – growth of 8 per cent was recorded in the year to September 2006.

Cranswick, which has a market cap of around £424m, said its acquisition of Delico was motivated by a desire to accelerate the development of its customer base and keep up its record of growth.

It has been as good as its word, investing a significant, although undisclosed amount in Delico’s 100,000 sq ft MK factory. The state of the art facility was another draw for Cranswick, identifying what it described as “substantial unutilised capacity.”

“Our manufacturing site includes a cutting edge, air circulation system which removes harmful organisms, 24 hours a day.

“The first class hygiene standards would challenge any food manufacturer.

“Recent, industry-wide food scares have driven consumers to justly vote in their purchasing behaviour,” said Nick Tranfield, MD of DeliCo.

Cranswick entered the pre-packed cooked meats market with the acquisition of Perkins Chilled Foods in January 2005. Perkins was merged with Cranswick’s pre-existing cooked meats business at Sutton Fields and renamed Cranswick Convenience Foods.

Paul Handforth of Crown HR and Recruitment will be jointly handling the recruitment of the new employees, along with Delico’s Human Resources manager, Caroline Armitage.

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