US –  American-based food manufacturing company, J.M. Smucker Co. has partnered with the world’s largest pure-play coffee and tea, JDE Peet’s to bolster its away-from-home liquid coffee business.

As part of the partnership, Peet’s will support Smucker’s coffee business with product development, production and foodservice equipment innovation.

“We are excited to partner with The J.M. Smucker Co. to offer liquid coffee products to their North American customers,” said Satya Menard, global president, out-of-home for JDE Peet’s.

“Our proprietary liquid coffee system efficiently delivers large quantities of premium coffee in a hygienic manner, making it the perfect solution for hospitals, universities, hotels, conference centers and many other out-of-home customers.”

On his part, John Brase, chief operating officer, JM Smucker said: “We are excited by the promise this partnership holds for our away-from-home liquid coffee business.”

“The agreement will allow us to more aggressively pursue liquid coffee innovation opportunities that will enhance current customer solutions and drive category growth.”

In conjunction with the partnership announcement, Smucker said it plans to close and pursue the sale of its Suffolk, Va., coffee production plant by the spring of 2022.

According to a report by Food Dive, the closure will affect 80 full time staff currently working at the facility.

The plant serves the company’s liquid coffee business within Smucker’s International and Away From Home business unit.

The business which mainly serves business, institutional and foodservice customers has been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions in the foodservice and institutional markets.

For the first nine months of fiscal 2021, ended Jan. 31, sales in Smucker’s International and Away From Home business unit fell to US$705 million from US$788 million during the same period of the year prior.

The J.M. Smucker Company will also be laying off an undisclosed number of employees as it is “evolving our corporate organizational structure,” according to a statement from the company.

 Specifics about the roles these employees play in the business, their location and the timeline of these layoffs were not disclosed.

In a call with investors following the company’s earnings report in early March, CEO Mark Smucker said this decision was made to ensure the long-term health of its business.

“We really want to create a leaner and flatter organization, ensuring that we align ownership accountability, incentives and so forth to the financial statements, and we do have high confidence this is going to make us more agile,” he said according to a transcript of the call.

While increased home consumption of food during the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many big food companies into the black, several have announced layoffs as they retool their operating structures for the future.

Danone, Coca-Cola and Clif Bar have all recently announced job cuts as they work toward restructuring.

Swiss food manufacturing giant Nestlé has also announced plans to cease confectionery production at its Wiri, New Zealand factory, in a move that would result in up to 45 redundancies.

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