Premier Foods’ Charnwood factory

Premier Foods is to exit the frozen pizza category and close a factory employing 57 staff as it continues to focus on branded growth.

The Mr Kipling and Bisto supplier will cease production of private-label frozen pizza bases for a small number of customers in the out-of-home sector from the end of July, resulting in the closure of the Charnwood Foods factory in Leicester.

Premier is understood to be in discussion with staff affected over alternative roles.

The move follows a decision to step back from producing non-branded powdered drinks last year, including the closure of its Knighton site in Staffordshire, which employed 300 people.

Chief marketing officer Yilmaz Erceyes vowed to invest further in its brands and brand manufacturing sites as a result. “Our brands are the beating heart of our business and the main driver behind our strong performance over the past six years,” he said.

“Given that focus, we are choosing to leave the market for commoditised ingredients such as frozen pizza bases, which don’t fit with our growth strategy and only contribute a very small fraction of our overall sales.”

Premier said it continues to invest in its manufacturing base and would spend around £35m in capital investment in its 13 remaining sites this year.

Last year, Premier Foods reached £1bn sales for the first time in over a decade, the majority from brands such as Batchelors and Ambrosia.

In October, it acquired Fuel10K, a protein-enriched breakfast brand, for £34m, its second acquisition in less than two years, following its acquisition of Indian foods brand The Spice Tailor.