Oscar Mayer on the move

by Keith Nunes
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Oscar Mayer Wienermobiles
Kraft Heinz is relocating Oscar Mayer headquarters to Chicago.

PITTSBURGH — The Kraft Heinz Co. plans to close seven manufacturing plants in North America and eliminate 2,600 jobs, according to the company. The plan includes moving its Oscar Mayer and US Meats Business from Madison, Wis., to Chicago.

“The move centralizes all our US business units to our co-headquarters of Chicago and Pittsburgh, which will drive increased collaboration and efficiency,” Mullen said.

The news follows the announcement in August that it would be laying off 2,500 employees in the United States and Canada, including eliminating 700 positions at the company’s co-headquarters in Northfield, Ill.

“Following an extensive review of the Kraft Heinz North American supply chain footprint, capabilities and capacity utilization, we are announcing the closure of seven manufacturing facilities in North America: Fullerton, Calif.; San Leandro, Calif.; Federalsburg, Md.; St. Marys, Ontario, Canada; Campbell, NY; Lehigh Valley, Pa.; and Madison, Wis.,” said Michael Mullen, senior vice president of corporate and government affairs. “In a staged process over the next 12 to 24 months, production in these locations will shift to other existing factories in North America.”

Heinz plant in Fullerton, Calif. set to close
The Kraft Heinz Co. plans to close seven manufacturing plants, including this Heinz facility in Fullerton, Calif.

The company also is planning to move production from its existing plant in Davenport, Iowa, to a new location in the Davenport area. Cheese production will be shifted away from the company’s plant in Champaign, Ill., to other plants in North America, and the company plans to make the Champaign location a “center-of-excellence” in dry sauce production. Both moves will take up to two years to complete, Mullen said.

“Our decision to consolidate manufacturing across the Kraft Heinz North American network is a critical step in our plan to eliminate excess capacity and reduce operational redundancies for the new combined company,” Mullen said. “This will make Kraft Heinz more globally competitive and accelerate the company’s future growth.

“We have reached this difficult but necessary decision after thoroughly exploring extensive alternatives and options. This action will reduce the size of our North American factory-based employee population by a net number of approximately 2,600 positions.”

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