Avara Foods has proposed the closure of its duck business, currently operating out of Caistor in Lincolnshire. Team members and agricultural partners were informed yesterday (29th April) and the business is now set to enter a consultation period to determine the next steps and timescales.
Cherry Valley Foods was purchased, in 2015 and gave Avara a unique position in the market as the only producer of British chicken, turkey and duck. However, in recent years, despite significant investment in the duck business, external market conditions have become increasingly challenging with feed costs, feather pricing and European competition all combining to put the business under immense pressure.
While not causes in themselves, recent developments with Brexit and COVID-19 have exacerbated the situation, particularly the significant drop in sales volumes as a result of catering and food service closures. While these challenges may be temporary, the underlying market conditions seriously undermine the viability of the business.
Commenting on the proposal, Andy Dawkins, Chief Executive said, “This has been an incredibly difficult decision and one that reflects a market that has gradually deteriorated over several years. Despite investment in the business and the best efforts of all involved, the market has reached the point where the business is no longer sustainable, with no clear route to recovery. We are now committed to a meaningful consultation process and, if our proposal goes ahead, providing the necessary support to everyone affected and a smooth transition with all our trading partners.”