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Silver Spoon to close Billington’s sugar packaging plant in Ipswich with loss of 50 jobs

PUBLISHED: 14:20 08 February 2017 | UPDATED: 16:02 08 February 2017

Billington's Factory, Europa Way.

Billington's Factory, Europa Way.

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A sugar packaging operation which has been based in Ipswich for nearly 40 years is set to close with the loss of around 50 jobs.

Billington's Factory, Europa Way. Billington's Factory, Europa Way.

The Silver Spoon Company, part of Associated British Foods, plans to transfer the packaging of its Billington’s range of speciality cane sugars to three others sites, including Bury St Edmunds where it already packages beet sugar produced by sister company British Sugar.

Silver Spoon said that a formal process of consultatation with staff at the Ipswich site, in Europa Way, off Sproughton Road, had now begun, with a possibility of some having an opportunity to relocate.

In a statement, Silver Spoon said: “In response to a highly competitive market for speciality sugars The Silver Spoon Company is proposing to transfer its current packaging operations from Ipswich to its other processing and packing facilities in Bury St Edmunds, Lincolnshire and Aylesbury.

Billington's Factory, Europa Way. Billington's Factory, Europa Way.

“Regrettably this will result in the closure of its site in Ipswich. We hope that some employees at our Ipswich facility will relocate to new roles we are creating elsewhere in our business as a result of this change; however, we can confirm that all employees at our Ipswich site are potentially at risk of redundancy as a result of this announcement.”

It added: “We will be working our way through a formal process of consultation which is designed to support those affected, during which we will look for ways to reduce the need for each and every redundancy, including exploring opportunities across The Silver Spoon Company and the wider network of businesses owned by Associated British Foods.”

The Billington’s sugar brand has been owned by Associated British Foods (ABF) since 2004. It covers a range of unrefined cane sugars including golden granulated, caster and icing sugars plus demerara, light and dark muscovado and light and dark soft brown sugars and molasses.

Billington's Factory, Europa Way. Billington's Factory, Europa Way.

The Silver Spoon packaging operation in Bury St Edmunds operates alongside the British Sugar processing plant which produces refined (white) granulated and icing sugars from sugar beet grown by farmers across Suffolk and beyond.

Before its acquisition by ABF, the Billington’s sugar business was owned by the Billington Group, based in Liverpool.

It began importing unrefined brown sugars from Mauritius in 1977 and opened a purpose-built packing facility in Ipswich in 1980.

Other food brands owned by ABF include Allinson and Kingsmill bread, Jordans cereal bars, Ryvita cripsbread, Twinings tea and Ovaltine malted drinks. The group also owns budget clothing retailer Primark.

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