UK – Swiss multinational food and drink processing conglomerate Nestlé has said it is moving ahead with plans to close its confectionery factory in Fawdon, UK.  

Nestlé announced the proposal to shutter the facility last year, citing the “need to reorganise and simplify its network of manufacturing sites across Europe” 

The Fawdon site produces popular confectionery products such as Fruit Pastilles and Toffee Crisp, Fruit Gums, and Jelly Tots.  

The site also manufactures a range of chocolate products marketed under brands including Rolo, Toffee Crisp, and Munchies. 

The maker of KitKat chocolate says that the majority of production currently in Fawdon will move to Halifax, West Yorkshire while smaller portions of production will move to other factories outside of the UK. 

Ross Murdoch, national officer for the GMB union, said: “Closing this profit-making site and shifting production to Europe is completely unacceptable”. 

The GMB suggested production of Fruit Pastilles and Jelly Tots would move to the Czech Republic and also claimed the manufacturing of Toffee Crisp will be transferred to Poland. 

A Nestlé spokesperson said the consultation around the changes proposed in April 2021 is still ongoing.  

“It remains a priority to support our people and their families through this process and we thank everybody for their patience. We will provide an update once the consultation is complete.”  

Factory closures: a worrying  trend 

Factory closures by major food corporations is becoming a worrying trend across Europe and the United States.  

Just recently, Mars Wrigley will be closing the original Mars factory in Chicago, which still makes M&Ms, Twix, Snickers, Milky Way, and Skittles. 

Earlier this month, Tyson also announced it was laying off 200 workers at a Kentucky poultry plant as the company changed the product mix at the site.   

Mondelēz International has also shuttered two older bakery plants during the summer — one in Atlanta and one in New Jersey. 

Industry analysts attribute this trend to changes in business models and product lines, as well as increased automation and technology.  

Lancaster Colony closes California plant 

A perfect example of a plant that was closed down due to portfolio optimization is Lancaster Colony Corp’s frozen garlic bread production plant in Baldwin Park, Calif. 

 In connection with the closing, the company is discontinuing its Mamma Bella line of frozen garlic bread. 

The company said the closing, which took place in January, was part of “ongoing efforts to better optimize our manufacturing network” and that the line was discontinued because of its small size and low profitability. 

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