Hundreds of workers at a bakery factory in Manchester face unemployment after Northern Foods confirmed its intention to shut down its pastry operations for good.
The announcement comes as a result of Northern Foods' determination to move away from chilled savoury products, where it incurred losses of £3 million in the firm's last financial year, to other areas of the food market where it maintains a "competitive advantage".
For the 690 employees of the Trafford Park bakery in Manchester, however, the decision means deep uncertainty for the near future. The bakery is set to be closed by December.
"The employee consultation process has begun," Northern Foods said in a statement.
"The decision reflects Northern Foods' focus on improving the overall performance of the business and is being progressed at this time in preparation for the disposal of the pastry category."
Instead the firm plans to concentrate on its successful brand-name products, including the Goodfellas pizza range and Fox's biscuits.
The closure is expected to cost Northern Foods around £12 million, although it pointed out that this figure would be offset by future sales of the Manchester site's assets.
Shares in the company jumped up by 2.45 per cent in early morning trading following news of the closure.