Despite a devastating blaze at one of its key factories this week, 2 Sisters has assured retailers it will continue to meet demand.

Fire fighters spent 24 hours tackling a blaze that severely damaged 80% of the poultry specialist's Morecambe factory on bank holiday Monday. No workers were on shift at the time and there were no injuries.

Morecambe is one of four UK processing sites operated by 2 Sisters, alongside Haughley Park, Sunderland and St Neots. The facility handles prepared foods, rotisserie and ready-to-eat chicken for retail customers.

The factory was not likely to reopen in the short-term and would need significant work before being operational again, said spokesman Peter King.

One option was to deploy staff to other sites and increase production to fulfill orders, he explained. The other sites would operate longer hours in order to get product out on time.

"We have implemented our emergency continuity plan and are currently in dialogue with customers," King said.

"We are looking at options to deploy staff elsewhere. We realise we need to come to a quick decision and give an early indication to staff."

The areas of the factory damaged by fire include most of the production area for raw and cooked meat, although firefighters had stopped the blaze from spreading to the cold store.

"Most of the building will have to be demolished," a spokesman for the Morecambe Fire Service said.

Hundreds of tonnes of cooked and uncooked chicken still needed to be disposed of as The Grocer went to press.

2 Sisters, which has a turnover of £650m, is one of the country's largest retail suppliers of chicken, and 200 of its 5,000 workers are employed at the Morecambe site.

This week's fire is the second major incident to hit the meat industry in recent weeks, with an employee dying in an explosion at pie specialist Andrew Jones last month.