Coshocton brings home the bacon

by Erica Shaffer
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kraft Foods Group's plan to consolidate bacon production into one site may come as a relief to workers at the Coshocton, Ohio facility and for more reasons than one.

The company announced plans to close its only other bacon production facility in Kirksville by the end of 2015. Kraft expects approximately 275 employees will be impacted by the transition.

Joyce Hodel, a spokeswoman for Kraft, said some bacon production lines at the Kirksville facility will be moved to the Coshocton plant, which will receive an investment of $40 million for expansion and equipment. Hodel said the company will be adding about 300 new positions at Coshocton over the next few years. She added that the difference in numbers is because "we’re going to be bringing on additional staff in Coshocton to eliminate the overtime we’ve been running there, which has been very taxing to our associates there."

The Coshocton plant is dedicated to bacon production, and about two-thirds of the company’s total bacon volume is produced there making the location the most cost-effective site for consolidation.
"Going forward, this consolidation will make better use of our manufacturing assets and help us build a stronger platform for efficiencies, operational excellence and growth," Hodel said.

The Kirksville facility will continue to produce ham products for Kraft. Hodel said Kraft is considering bringing in other production to Kirksville, but nothing firm has been decided. Currently, approximately 415 employees work at the Kirksville plant.

Both Kirksville and Coshocton attempted to woo Kraft with incentives. Local news reports in Ohio said the company was offered 10-year property tax abatements on the plant expansion along with a job creation tax credit through the Ohio Tax Commission.
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