Food group secures deal to help it keep growing

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ONE of Yorkshire’s oldest food firms has established its first manufacturing site outside the county.

Symington’s made headlines in 2013 when it defied convention by opening a noodle factory in Hunslet, near Leeds, where staff carry out work that was once done in China.

Now the firm has strengthened its grip on the convenience food sector by acquiring Tanfield Foods, which is based in County Durham, for an undisclosed sum. The Tanfield business turned over around £8m last year, and the addition of its 95 employees takes Symington’s total staff numbers to around 1,000.

David Salkeld, the chief executive at Symington’s said: “The Tanfield Foods acquisition is a positive step forward in strengthening our position in branded convenience food and we welcome the people of Tanfield Foods to the Symington’s family.

“Our two companies have a proven track record of success in product innovation and brand development in these growing categories, and working together, we are very well placed to continue to surprise and delight our consumers.”

Geoff Allison, the managing director at Tanfield Foods, said: “Tanfield Foods has come a long way since its inception nearly 10 years ago but needs to change to secure its future.”

Founded in 1827, Leeds-based Symington’s is credited with inventing instant soup using pea flour.

The soup was used by British troops in the Crimean war of the 1850s.

Mr Salkeld, who started his career as a graduate trainee with British Steel, has been chief executive of Northern Foods, UK managing director of Arla Foods and chief executive of Grampian Country Food Group.

Last year, Symington’s revealed it was entering the food industry in Australia after striking a deal with consumer giant Unilever.