Chilled fish suppliers to the mults are facing a mighty new challenger as Ranjit Boparan has entered the sector with a £4m contract to supply Morrisons, The Grocer can reveal.
The fish is being supplied through Five Star Fish, which Boparan bought out of administration in 2010 following the collapse of its parent, British Seafood.
Five Star, part of Boparan’s 2 Sisters Food Group, which also includes the Northern Foods business, already supplies some frozen fish to Morrisons and other major retailers, but is primarily focused on foodservice and manufacturing. Its new contract with Morrisons, which will be serviced by Five Star’s frozen fish facility in Grimsby, is the first time it has offered chilled fish.
A spokesman for 2 Sisters said the contract involved mainstream fish species such as cod and whiting, and coated chilled fish - such as goujons - would form a major part of its relationship with Morrisons.
2 Sisters would not be drawn on the financial details, but the deal is understood to be worth about £4m in annualised sales value. It is unclear how the contract fits in with Morrisons’ intention to open a fish processing site in Grimsby next year. One industry source claimed it was a “temporary arrangement” but neither Morrisons nor Five Star would be drawn on whether Five Star would still supply once the new site was up and running.
When Morrisons announced its plans earlier this month, it said it would use its Grimsby site to supply about 72% of the £180m of fish it sells each year.
The contract - which started in January - is believed to have previously been served by Cumbrian Seafoods, which has been acquired by Young’s Seafood owner Lion Capital and was this week given the green light by the OFT.