High-flying food firm to create 40 more jobs

Dozens of new jobs are to be created in Wigan as a booming fresh food manufacturer further expands its workforce.
Hitchens staffHitchens staff
Hitchens staff

Hitchen Foods, part of the Bakkavor Group, is looking to recruit 40 people to join its already 1,150-strong team, as well as take on three apprentices to work in the technical, development and planning teams.

The major site, at Ince, produces fresh prepared vegetables and convenience salads and is looking to recruit people for a range of skilled and semi-skilled roles including production operatives, quality control and mixers, as well as line management personnel.

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The new recruits will be part of a team which produces 88 million meals per year, 22 million salads and 30 million packs of fresh ready-made mash.

In total, Hitchen Foods makes more than 176 different fresh, chilled products every day and supplies four of the major supermarket retailers.

Its industry-leading mash facility takes freshly harvested potatoes from the field and converts them to ready-made mash within just four hours.

Richard Broadley, general manager at Hitchen Foods, said: “Now is a really exciting time as Bakkavor continues to grow and this is demonstrated by our recruitment drive.

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“This is a fantastic opportunity for people in the local area to get the chance to work in the fast moving and exciting fresh prepared foods industry.”

Hitchen Foods says it provides great development and progression both within its site and as part of the wider Bakkavor Group.

The company says that among the benefits of working at Hitchen include a cafe area on site with subsidised food and drink, staff discount at the onsite shop, access to national retail discounts through its benefit scheme, a Christmas savings club and strong links to charities and local schools.

Hitchen Foods was established in Chorley in 1961, supplying fresh produce to caterers.

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In 1989 the company moved to Wigan and it moved into retail supplying pizza toppings.

Over the years, the company has expanded its operations to supplying prepared vegetables and salads, vegetable accompaniments, ready meals and mash into the retail sector.

In 2005 Hitchen Foods was acquired by the Bakkavor Group and is now one of the borough’s biggest employers.

It is part of an impressive line-up of food companies that Wigan and Leigh now boasts including HJ Heinz, Pataks, Waterfield’s, William Santus and Hazeldene.

For more on National Apprenticeship Week see an education special on page 33.

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