Speculation Rachel's Organic is up for sale

Image caption, Rachel's Organic is thought to employ about 140 people

There is speculation that a popular UK organic food brand has been put up for sale by its American owners.

Dean Foods issued a statement after media speculation about the future of Rachel's Organic, although it did not confirm it was on the market.

The Aberystwyth-based dairy employs about 140 people, and is popular for its trademark yoghurts.

Dean Foods said it was inappropriate to speculate about any choices that might be made in the future.

Rachel's Organic is one of the largest private sector employers in Aberystwyth, but it can trace its origins back to Brynllys Farm in the nearby village of Borth.

Company founders Gareth and Rachel Rowlands saw their brand go from strength to strength after they started producing organic products in the 1980s.

After moving to a purpose-built factory in Aberystwyth, it was sold to Horizon in 1999 and then it was bought by Dean Foods, of Dallas, Texas.

Rachel's Organic is now sold in supermarkets across the UK.

A spokeswoman for Dean Foods said: "Like every company, we constantly evaluate our business to ensure we are best positioned to succeed in the marketplace.

"We explore options and make choices about our business based on what's in the best interests of our company, our customers, our people and our shareholders.

"It is inappropriate to speculate about any choices we might make in the future.

"On any given day, there are conversations in the market regarding different companies. These can create rumour and speculation. We choose not to engage in these conversations."

Ceredigion AM Elin Jones said is was "essential" the company's dairy production remained in Aberystwyth.

She said: "Rachel's Dairy is a brand which is strongly associated with Aberystwyth and Ceredigion, and it would be unacceptable to move the milk processing work away from the area should the company be sold.

"It's essential that production work at Rachel's Dairy remains in Aberystwyth and the assembly government will work with the present owners and any prospective purchasers and seek to ensure the continuation of processing in the area and the local retention of the iconic brand."

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