Tesco is set to close its fresh food counters and bakeries in 90 stores as part of a cost-cutting plan which will affect 9,000 workers.

The retailer has said that its remaining fish, meat and deli counters in 700 stores will be run on a full-time or flexible basis. It will also no longer offer a hot food service at its canteens and a number of head office staff will be cut.

The news has been confirmed following reports that an internal company email was leaked and seen by the BBC.

Following the leaked memo, chief operating officer Tony Hogett acknowledged the media speculation and decided to bring forward communications with staff and the press in order to offer more information as soon as possible.

More than 10,000 jobs are already believed to have been cut at Tesco since the current chief executive, Dave Lewis, took over in 2014. The latest planned cuts would affect the majority of Tesco’s 732 larger stores.

Tesco said in a statement: “Not only are customers shopping in different ways, but we know that they have less time available to shop too – which means they are using our counters less frequently.

“We will be making changes to the counters in our large stores to ensure that we have the right offer for customers.”

Shopworkers’ trade union Usdaw  responded to the job loss reports. Pauline Foulkes, Usdaw national officer, said: “Reports and speculation in the media about significant job cuts are distressing for Tesco staff and it is appalling that they should hear about the future of their jobs in this way.”

When approached by Food Management Today magazine for comment, a spokesperson for Tesco stated: “We’re always looking at ways to run our business more simply and efficiently. Whenever we make changes in our business, colleagues are always the first to know.”