Young's Seafood shock as £30m Asda contracts leave Ross House

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 20 Jun 2018

Grimsby's Young’s Seafood has been dealt a shock blow by Asda, after it was told it is to lose £30 million of business from the supermarket giant.

The contract merry-go-round appears to have struck the Ross House team, with whitefish and prawn own-label work understood to be involved.

Once again, one Grimsby firm’s loss appears to be a win for another, such is the strength of the cluster, with New England Seafood International reported to be lined up for the cod and haddock business.

It acquired Albert Darnell on Grimsby’s Europarc in late 2016, and used to process for Young's.

However, the prawn work looks to be heading to Wiltshire, with trade website Undercurrent News reporting a win for French-owned Labeyrie Fine Foods.

A spokesperson for Young's Seafood said: “While we’re naturally disappointed to not have retained this business, Asda remain an important customer for Young’s where we will continue to work together across several categories to deliver great fish and seafood products for their customers.

“Our existing relationships with multiple retailers and our recent natural whitefish, salmon and coated fish contract wins demonstrate our ongoing expertise and leadership in own-label and our ability to retain and grow business.”

Young’s lost a major contract with Sainsbury’s – the supermarket looking to merge with Asda – back in 2016, but has recently won Marks and Spencer work and has seen strong growth in its branded products domestically, as well as a successful launch in the US.

Timescales and impact on jobs are not yet known, but with the firm announcing it is to recruit 200 more people as it brings salmon processing south from Scotland, it may well be that the mitigation of the Five Star Fish factory closure is impacted heavily. Morrisons is also adding a further 100 to its Grimsby team, and if New England is confirmed, that could be more jobs.

Simon Dwyer, who represents Seafood Grimsby & Humber, the cluster group behind the regional industry, said: "It is the way it is, a merry-go-round. No-one knows what the impact will be, and I wouldn't want to speculate on it. Some work will move away from the town, which is a loss, and some will stay. What that split is and how many people are involved, we don't know."

Young’s is understood to have agreed a deal to buy the former Christian Salvesen facility on Ladysmith Road as it increased its Grimsby footprint following consolidation in Annan, but the loss of this work may see that deal revisited.

Chief executive of New England Seafood International, Dan Aherne, was not immediately available for comment. 

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