Bird's Eye boss speaks out on Aunt Bessie's sale and what it means for Hull

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 5 Jun 2018

The managing director of Birds Eye has said frozen food giant Aunt Bessie’s will remain in Hull when the £210m takeover deal is completed.

Wayne Hudson, MD of Birds Eye UK, said the brand had been “long admired” by the company, and that he envisaged no hurdles in the deal, which should be completed later this year.

Aunt Bessie’s, currently owned by the William Jackson Food Group, is based in Freightliner Road in Hull and currently employs around 400 people.

Mr Hudson said: “Aunt Bessie’s is a company which we have long admired, and it shares a lot of the same values we have here.

“We have admired the job they have been doing for a while, and made an approach to the family and it all started from there.

Read more: Aunt Bessie's is being sold to Birds Eye owner in £210m deal

“We are not envisaging any problems with the deal. We have been upfront and open with the Competitions and Markets Authority.”

Aunt Bessie’s started making frozen Yorkshire puddings in 1974 as Tryton Foods.

Aunt Bessie's, Freightliner Road, west Hull

The brand was created in 1995, and today 20 million Yorkshire puddings are made in Hull every week.

Aunt Bessie’s colleagues were told of the sale earlier today.

“We have no plans whatsoever to close the factory in Hull," Mr Hudson said. "We will be working with the team there to understand how we can continue the great job they have done.

Read more: Meet 6 of the unsung heroes who keep Hull's port running

“The aim is to accelerate growth. Aunt Bessie’s is a market leader in Yorkshire puddings, and this gives us more opportunities than we have in our existing portfolio.

“We feel we are well placed to work with the existing team to build on the success and heritage of the brand, and continue to drive it forwards.

Nicholas Oughtred, chairman of William Jackson Food Group

“To reiterate, there are no plans to close the factory in Hull or move Aunt Bessie’s out of Hull.”

Aunt Bessie’s is currently owned by William Jackson Food Group.

Nicholas Oughtred, chairman of the Group, said he was “extremely proud” of the circa 400 staff at Aunt Bessie’s, who had “helped it become the much-loved household name that it is today."

Read more: Historic Hull firm William Jackson Food Group to expand with new £40m bakery

He said: “As a responsible business owner we must do what we believe is right for every one of our businesses and this sale presents a great, long-term opportunity for Aunt Bessie’s.

“Aunt Bessie’s has come a long way with us. We’ve invested heavily in developing the business and the brand, and Nomad Foods is well placed to take the business even further.

“Nomad Foods is a well-known food group with a strong commitment to the frozen category, incredible experience, scale and investment capabilities and I’m sure Aunt Bessie’s will continue to thrive."

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