Linwoods to cut a third of workforce in response to falling demand

 Linwoods is to reduce its workforce by over a third due to falling demand for it bakery and dairy products
Gareth McKeown

ONE of the north's leading health food companies has announced it is to cut over a third of its workforce due to a drop in consumer demand for its bakery and dairy goods.

Co Armagh-based Linwoods informed employees today of its intention to restructure the business in response to a "significant and long-term change in market demand".

The award-winning family-owned business has confirmed the ceasing of its van sales distribution business, which means the workforce at the firm's Monaghan Road headquarters in Armagh will be reduced by approximately 90 full time staff. Linwoods Health Foods and all contracted bakery production are not affected by the restructuring.

Linwoods began 60 years ago as a small grocery shop and in 2002 diversified from a bakery and dairy business into health foods, exporting its products across the UK, Europe and Asia. The company currently employs 250 full time and 45 casual staff in the north across two sites in Co Armagh.

Joint managing director of Linwoods, John Woods said it was a "very difficult decision" to reduce the company workforce, but necessary to ensure its long-term survival.

“Linwoods has been a business at the heart of the Co Armagh community for a long time and in order to continue to do this we have had to react to a change in the requirements of our market," he said.

"Our customers’ buying habits have changed and we have seen the demand for 800g white bread falling dramatically in recent years. When this is combined with the increasing costs for distribution of our bakery and dairy products, it has become a wholly unviable prospect for the future of our business."

“In comparison to this our health food business is growing and continues to be successful around the world. Our focus and our investment will now be placed on this side of the business," Mr Woods added.

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