Barry Callebaut considers closing UK manufacturing site

The Barry Callebaut Group has confirmed it is exploring potential closure of its UK confectionery manufacturing facility at Moreton, Wirral, writes Neill Barston.

According to the business, it is ‘considering all options’ for the future of the site, amid a backdrop of rising production costs and inflation that is impacting on many operations across the food and drink sector.

The Moreton site reportedly employs 45 full-time staff and further agency workers at the factory, which was acquired from Burton’s Biscuit company three years ago. It had previously been owned by Cadbury.

Barry Callebaut, which has its financial headquarters in Switzerland and major chocolate manufacturing in Belgium, also has one a branch of its chocolate academy training and development centres at Banbury, near Oxford in the UK.

The group recently posted its first quarter figures that revealed a notable increase in sales figures (up 14% to CHF 2.03 billion) for the period, despite wider economic pressures linked to the ongoing pandemic, and logistics issues.

A company statement on its Moreton site said: “As part of Barry Callebaut’s strategy to continuously improve its operational efficiency and to better balance production capacity and demand in the UK, the Group has started a consultation process on the potential closure of its chocolate factory in Moreton. This is not a course of action that has been taken lightly. Barry Callebaut has strong foundations for growth and the UK will remain a key market for future investment.

“We understand that this will be a concerning time for all those that will be affected by this announcement and their families, and we will be supporting them through this difficult period.”

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