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Tuesday, 27 March, 2001, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
Curry firm creates 1,000 jobs
Perween Warsi, founder and managing director of S&A Foods
Perween Warsi named S&A Foods after her sons.
A curry firm which began in its owner's kitchen is creating more than a thousand new jobs, with a further thousand new positions expected over the next ten years.

Stephen Byers, trade and industry secretary
Stephen Byers: "This is a major jobs coup."
S&A Foods will open a new factory in Staffordshire with the aid of a government grant.

"We are delighted to be coming to Newcastle-under-Lyme," said Perween Warsi, the founder of the curry making company.

The company will invest 26.5m, while the Department of Trade and Industry has granted 5m assistance to get the new factory up and running.

Jobs coup

S&A Foods' new factory will be part of the 3m Lymedale Park development, a reclaimed and renovated colliery site.

Curry and rice
Curry and rice; a favourite take-away meal in the UK.
"As well as providing much needed jobs for Newcastle-under-Lyme, the development by S&A Foods has triggered off other projects on the 76 acre site," said John Edwards, chief executive of Advantage West Midlands, the regional development agency.

"Now fully occupied, it is giving a wide variety of employment opportunities for the area."

UK Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers described the new curry factory as a major jobs coup for the region.

"It comes about as a direct result of the Government's decision to designate Stoke and Newcastle-under-Lyme as areas that can attract Regional Selective Assistance," he said.

'Chief Spice'

Mrs Warsi, who named the company after her sons Sadiq and Abid, already employs 1,100 people in Derby, where the company produces chilled and frozen ready-meals that are sold by the supermarket chains Safeway, Morrisons and Waitrose.

The company's turnover topped 78m in 2000.

Mrs Warsi, known jokingly as 'Chief Spice' among her staff, started the company in 1986 because she was fed up with the poor quality Asian food sold by the supermarkets in the UK.

Thirteen years later, she was awarded the Ummul Mu'minin Khadijah Award for excellence in enterprise.

Curry and rice
The hot curry dish Vindaloo inspired a hit football song during the World Cup in 1998.
British curry dishes are often adapted to suit the tastes of the UK people.

Many Asians insist that what is served by many curry houses in the UK bears little resemblance to what people in India and Pakistan eat.

But curries are hugely popular across the UK where most towns and cities have several eat-in and take-away restaurants which serve wide ranges of spicy dishes, from mild Khormas to hot Vindaloos.

The latter dish even inspired a song by the same name which was very popular among English football fans during the World Cup in 1998.

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See also:

25 Oct 00 | Health
British 'addicted to curry'
10 Jan 00 | Health
'Curry is cancer fighter'
10 Dec 98 | UK
Currying flavours
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