Prepared Foods November 1, 2004 enewsletter

Kerry Group is close to clinching a major deal to make ready-meals under the Bird's Eye brand, a report says.

The deal would see it making 50 million trays of convenience meals a year at its Rye Valley plant in Carrickmacross in the U.K., London's Sunday Times reports.

It quotes a food industry source as saying that the deal is being negotiated by Bird's Eye parent Unilever.

The source says it would be one of the biggest outsourcing contracts in the history of the U.K. food industry. Rye Valley already produces around 100 million trays of frozen food a year. The outsourcing by Unilever is linked to its planned closure next February of a food plant in Grimsby.