A long-running dispute over allegations of racial discrimination – strongly denied – at its Smethwick plant, and a fire at its Morecambe poultry processing factory have made this a challenging year for Ranjit and Baljinder Boparan Singh’s 2 Sisters Food Group.

The West Bromwich-based company – best known for its Buxted brand of whole chickens and chicken dishes – has been involved in a public dust-up with the union Unite over the situation at its Smethwick plant, which resulted in 59 employees being sacked for unconstitutional industrial action.

But the group continues to expand, and has raised its turnover to almost £650 million.

The challenging economic environment has caused the company to refocus some of its operations.

The company’s Devon plant – formerly Lloyd Maunder – has seen a drop in demand for its processed and barbecue chicken ranges, but £4 million is being invested to turn it into a centre of excellence for specialist chicken products for major supermarkets.

This sort of ambitious expansion and investment has meant that the business – founded in 1993 – now employs 5,500 people on 13 sites in the UK, Holland and the US.

The flagship of the group is its Scunthorpe processing plant which has been operating form more than 20 years.

After a major investment programme it is now one of the most modern and best equipped food processing plants in Europe.

The Boparans are very keen on training and developing their workforce and are proud of their record of putting employees through NVQs on factory and farm production.

A year ago their Sutton Coldfield-based company Boparan Ventures stepped in to save 100 jobs and buy four restaurants – two in London, one in Richmond and one in Bath – owned by the failed FishWorks seafood chain.