LEA & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, an icon of Worcester and a must-have on millions of dinner tables, is once again to be bottled in the city.

The sauce has been made in a city centre factory for the past 109 years but bottling was moved to Aston last year.

The idea to bring it back to Midland Road in Worcester was first mooted in May and was rubber-stamped on Wednesday.

It was part of an announcement by the product's owner, Heinz, which has confirmed it is to close its HP Foods factory in Birmingham and move production of the own-brand goods abroad.

This means 125 people are to be made redundant but jobs in Worcester look safe.

Gary Hayes, external affairs manager for HP Foods, said the news indicated a promising future for Lea & Perrins.

He added: "It would indicate that the site is very secure and it is good news for the 40 or so people working there and for the brand itself.

"When the bottling was moved to Aston, there were various changes at Midland Road to accommodate the extra space. The main one was a new spice packaging system, and this safeguarded the current jobs and even made room for some more.

"This particular aspect of the business has now been sold to bring back bottling. While we don't know if any jobs will be created, I can't see anyone being made redundant either."

Around 150,000 bottles of Worcestershire Sauce are produced in Worcester every day. These are exported to 57 different countries, with the Americans being among the biggest fans.

According to the company, an estimated 90 per cent of restaurants around the world have a bottle behind the bar, and it is used as an ingredient in a whole host of different meals. Another fact - the first Caesar salad was made with Worcestershire Sauce.

Lea & Perrins has been made in Midland Road, Worcester, since the factory was built in 1897, using a recipe reputed to have been brought into the country by the former Governor of Bengal, Lord Sandys.

The story goes that on return from India to his native Worcester in 1835, Lord Sandys took the recipe to a pair of Victorian gentlemen called John Wheeley Lea and William Perrins, who owned a pharmacy in Broad Street. They made up the sauce from the ingredients given and discovered it tasted... horrible. Two years later they re-discovered the jars and before throwing them away, decided to taste it again.

They discovered to their delight that the ageing process had transformed the mixture into the sauce everyone knows today. The sauce was sold commercially for the first time that year.

Councillor Allah Ditta, who is one of the city council members for the Cathedral Ward, which covers Midland Road, said: "It is sad news for Birmingham, but I am delighted for the local factory. Lea & Perrins is a very important part of Worcester and it is wonderful they will be bottling it again here."