The Hall’s haggis and sausages brand owned by Vion UK has been bought by Scottish cooked meats supplier Browns Food Group for an undisclosed amount.
Browns will also take on a van sales operation associated with the Hall’s brand as well as about 50 staff. The production facilities at Broxburn – where 1,700 staff used to be employed before Vion announced plans to close the plant – are not part of the deal.
Finance director Alan Hill said Browns – which has a turnover of about £120m a year and employs about 600 people in Scotland – did look at buying the whole Broxburn site but could not make a deal work in the end. He declined to say whether Browns was looking to buy any other part of Vion’s UK operations, which have been up for sale since Vion announced its exit from the UK last year.
The Hall’s deal was closed on Friday (25 January) and production of Hall’s products under Browns started on Monday. Hill said Hall’s sausages would be produced at Browns’ plant in Prestwick, with haggis being made at North Berwick.
Hill stressed the Hall’s deal would ensure the future of one of Scotland’s best known brand. “We intend to invest heavily in the Hall’s brand, and we will preserve and increase its reputation by offering food that is both good quality and good value,” he said.
The impending closure of Broxburn has raised concerns about the future of the Scottish pig industry. Hill said Browns would try to source Scottish pork for the Hall’s brand “as much as we can” but said Browns was making no commitment on Scottish sourcing.
Browns Food Group supplies cooked meats and fish to foodservice companies as well as retailers around the country. Aside from Hall’s, the company also owns the Tarbert Fine Foods and Lairds Fine Foods brands, among others.