Embattled manufacturer Premier Foods has begun talks with retailers and suppliers in a bid to turn around the business.

Almost 450 suppliers heard new CEO Michael Clarke outline plans for major consolidation of Premier’s supply chain to drive down costs and remove inefficiencies at a conference last week.

The event was the first public outing for Clarke and his top team, including new group sales director Ian Deste and group procurement director Mark Hughes.

“Last year we had 270 suppliers here,” said Hughes. “This year we had nearly 450, which shows the interest people have in the business succeeding.”

Premier has cut supplier numbers from 10,000 in 2007/2008 to 5,240, a trend Hughes said would continue. Other plans include a £20m spend over this year and next on Ambrosia.

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Premier calls in PwC in bid to refinance debt (20 October 2011)
Clarke: ‘With focus on power brands, I can save Premier’ (15 October 2011)