Brexit-supporting Newark in shock as largest employer shuts up shop and heads for mainland Europe

Local media and residents in the English town of Newark, as well as its local MP Robert Jenrick, are said to be shocked and disappointed by the decision of food producer Goodlife Foods to shut up shop and move its entire production to mainland Europe.

The decision is likely to result in around 110 job losses, according to local media. Goodlife Foods, which supplies products to supermarket giants like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Ocado, is the town’s largest employer.

Goodlife Foods, which is based on the Newark Industrial Estate, plans to close its UK base within two weeks, on 6 May.

Newark’s MP, Robert Jenrick, a former housing secretary, said he plans to write to Daloon Foods, the entity behind Goodlife Foods, to express his disappointment and to demand assurances for local staff.

“I am very disappointed with the company’s decision and concerned for the employees involved,” Jenrick said.

“I will be making contact with the company to seek assurances as to how they are supporting the staff they are letting go,” Jenrick said.

Despite the cost of living crisis biting, primarily driven by high inflation and rising energy bills, Jenrick did say that “fortunately the employment market in the Newark area is currently very strong so hopefully they will find other options to to be available.”

No ‘viable’ alternative

Goodlife Foods said it decided to move its entire operation to Europe after “completing the collective and individual consultations with our colleagues on ways of avoiding the proposed Newark site closure, or at least minimise the impact.”

“Unfortunately no suitable or viable alternatives have been found, therefore, the decision has been taken to close the UK manufacturing site in Newark, and to subsequently move all volume into our group production facilities in mainland Europe,” the company explained.

“By moving our production out of the UK, we can leverage the benefits of scale and efficiencies that the wider group can offer.”

Goodlife Foods

“The decision has been driven by the challenging trading conditions that we have experienced in the UK market over recent years and that we believe we would continue to face into 2022 and beyond.”

“We will continue to manufacture product at our Newark site up until the closure date of May 6,” the statement read.

“Leading up to this date we will be working closely with and supporting our colleagues in Newark to find alternative employment outside of Goodlife Foods.”