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Pinnacle Foods Group to close factory

By Joe Whitworth , 29-May-2012
Last updated on 30-May-2012 at 11:29 GMT

Pinnacle Foods Group to close factory

Pinnacle Foods Group has announced it is to close one of its US food production plants by the end of the year.

The company said it took the decision to close its Millsboro, Delaware site to “further improve the efficiency of its supply chain” and move operations to one plant in Imlay City, Michigan.

The pickle producer for the Vlasic brand, described the reason behind the move was to consolidate production and focus on its “branded Vlasic business and de-emphasize its lower-margin, un-branded pickle business.”

The site produces 6-8 million cases of pickles, peppers and relish each year.

Business transition

The owner of the Duncan Hines grocery, Birds Eye Frozen and Specialty Foods divisions said it would meet with union officials at the Millsboro facility, which opened in 1972, to discuss specifics of the transition.

The company told FoodProductionDaily.com 200 jobs would be affected but said all employees would have the opportunity to apply for open positions at other Pinnacle facilities. 

A spokesperson added: "We analyzed many factors and in the end determined our Imlay City, Michigan plant as the most economically viable choice for the long term.

"As part of our ongoing strategic focus, over the last several years we have deemphasized the food service and private label businesses for the benefit of our branded food products.

"The decision involved many aspects of the supply chain which led us to determine our Michigan site as the most economically viable choice for the long term."

Tony Fernandez, executive vice president and chief supply chain officer at Pinnacle Foods Group, said it was never an easy decision to close a plant.

“We came to this conclusion only after a detailed analysis of all potential options, which determined that the Imlay City plant is the most viable choice for the long term.

“The employees in Millsboro have been a valued part of our business and their dedication and contributions to the company are appreciated.”

Michigan upgrade

Pinnacle Foods said they would be investing to increase capacity, upgrade existing manufacturing capabilities and efficiencies at their Imlay City plant, resulting in the creation of full-time and seasonal jobs.

The New Jersey based firm employs around 4,300 people and was ranked number 799 in Fortune Magazine’s 2011 top 1000 companies, which is judged by revenue, earlier this month.