A LEADING food supplier in Bolton grabbed a 'pizza' the action at a prestigious national industry gathering.

Stateside Foods in Westhoughton has made its name by partnering with a host of top high street names for its Italian cuisine.

And this has led to recognition at the PAPAs - the Pizza and Pasta Association Awards - in London.

One of their prizes was in the best manufactured product section, as the Co-op branded Irrestible Truffle and Salami Pizza walked away in the indulgent category.

Next up for Stateside was victory in the chilled pizza multiple retailer award, which they shared with Morrison's.

Further Stateside and Co-op triumphs came in the chilled convenience multiple retailer and marketing award divisions. The latter again involved the Irresistible range. The Lancaster Way producer was also highly commended in the PAPAs' environmental award standings.

Such announcements have arrived at a critical time for the manufacturer, as bosses look to develop the next generation of talent.

Manchester Metropolitan University hosted the first of its September 2020 apprenticeship opening evenings and Stateside was one of the supporters.

Some of the successful candidates from a previous intake were on hand to talk about their experiences with the company. The firm offers a chartered manager apprenticeship degree in association with Manchester Met and engineering apprenticeships in conjunction with Waterside College.

A Stateside spokesman said: "It was a busy night for our current apprentices who are keen to share their own experiences with young people who are taking their next steps towards their chosen careers."

Applications are already open for the 2020 intake via the company's website.

Meanwhile the company welcomed their class of 2019 with what is becoming an in-house tradition.

The newcomers were split into three teams and challenged to reason their way out of an escape room. While two out of three squads were successful at Manchester Breakout all had dinner in the city later.