Nearly 1,000 jobs in grocery have been lost in recent weeks as tough trading conditions force factory, depot and store closures.

Red Mill Snack Foods' crisp plant in Wednesbury, owned by Tayto, is to close next month with the loss of 300 jobs after losing a Pringles Minis contract. Lines including Transform-A-Snack crisps and Mr Porky scratchings will be made at a Corby site.

Another 250 jobs were lost when Northumberland Foods, a frozen potato line manufacturer in Morpeth, which supplied Tesco, Sainsbury's and Iceland, went into administration.

Northern Foods has closed a Chinese ready meal factory in Swansea with the loss of 220 jobs after failing to reach an agreement with Sainsbury's, which accounted for 90% of its business. And M&S is to close four stores in January, accounting for about 150 jobs. The stores in Scunthorpe, Nuneaton, Skegness and Grantham were no longer "commercially viable", it said.

Premier Foods is considering closing a Hovis depot in Inverness in its bid to achieve savings and increase efficiencies. It claimed no decision had been made but there are 'for sale' signs on the building, which employs 38 staff.

Unions have warned that there could be worse to come in 2011 as the government takes its cost cutting to the public sector.

"The public sector cuts planned by the Lib-Cons could have a knock-on effect on the food and drink industry, through cuts to some of their customers, such as hospitals, and increasing unemployment hitting demand," said a Unite spokesman.

However, it is not all doom and gloom. Several food and drink companies have announced new jobs.

Seabrook Crisps is to open a new factory in Northamptonshire by 2013. Papa John's is opening a dough plant in Milton Keynes, creating 30 jobs, and plans to open a further 60 outlets by 2012.

Costco opened a depot in Coventry this month, creating 200 jobs, and AF Blakemore & Son's foodservice arm is to open a new depot near Leeds next month.