About 850 jobs at Golden Wonder could be cut after the crisp manufacturer was forced into administration.
Administrator Kroll was called in after the company, whose brands include Wheat Crunchies and Nik-Naks, suffered losses of more than £10m in 2004 and further “significant losses” last year.
Union Usdaw said staff were “absolutely devastated” by the announcement.
Golden Wonder has already closed part of its Corby site, which has a 350-strong workforce, and further closures are predicted at its Leicestershire and Humberside sites.
Adrian Wolstenholme, administrator for Kroll, blamed competitive market conditions on Golden Wonder’s decline.
“Unfortunately, despite its well-known name and brands, Golden Wonder has suffered in recent years, primarily as a result of operating within a very competitive marketplace,” he said.
It is thought that the success of the Walkers crisp brand, which account for 45.5% of the UK’s crisp market, is responsible.
“The UK market is dominated by a single crisp and snack manufacturer and Golden Wonder has found it difficult to compete against this leader’s strength in the market place,” Wolstenholme said.
Golden Wonder, which launched the Pot Noodle in 1977, was founded in 1947 and became a brand leader in Scotland in 1960.