One of the nation's last big independent bread bakers, Yarrows (The Bakers) Limited, has gone into receivership.

The Taranaki company, the single largest employer in Manaia, a tiny South Taranaki town with a population of just 1009, is now in the hands of chartered accountants and advisers BDO.

Receivers Brian Mayo-Smith and Andrew Bethell said other companies in the Yarrows Group operating in Rotorua and Australia were unaffected and continuing to trade as normal.

"The receivers are planning to continue to trade the company to provide uninterrupted supply to its customers, ultimately securing a sale of the business," they said.

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Staff were being informed at a meeting involving union representatives this afternoon.

Yarrows has employed around 200 workers to produce up to 40,000 loaves of bread a day.

Founded in 1923 by Alfred and Grace Yarrow, the company tried to revive its fortunes in 2008 by introducing a new range of breads made with a South American wholegrain chia, which it branded as Salba.

It made the move - licensing the ingredient and branding from Canada - after losing a contract comprising 70 per cent of its production of fresh bread, which it used to supply to Tiptop.

Yarrows managing director Paul Yarrow said at the time that he owed it to the Manaia community and his staff to keep making fresh bread.

- NZPA