Bega Cheese plans to cut jobs at a processed cheese facility in the state of New South Wales as part of a consolidation exercise.

Sydney-listed Bega, a dairy products and spreads manufacturer, is switching processed cheese production from the Ridge Street site in the town of Bega to its Strathmerton plant in the state of Victoria, with 74 employees set to be made redundant by the year-end.

ABC News reported Bega Cheese’s executive chairman Barry Irvin as saying demand for processed cheeses is in decline as consumers now prefer the natural variety, and is hence moving to strategically rationalise production.

“We’ve elected to consolidate just the processed cheese into the Strathmerton facility because it has been purpose-built,” Irvin told the publication, adding the job cuts represent about 12% of the 600 workforce employed at the Bega-based site. “Anyone who goes to the supermarket these days will see that consumers are buying natural cheese slices not processed cheese slices … it’s a shrinking market.”

Bega Cheese, which also manufactures dressings and snacks, and owns the Vegemite brand, hopes the affected employees will take up voluntary redundancy.

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By GlobalData

A spokesperson for Bega Cheese, told just-food with respect to the the future of the site in Bega, which is situated in the Bega Valley region of New South Wales: “Bega Cheese has reviewed its processed cheese capacity at Ridge Street in Bega and Strathmerton in Victoria and made the decision to consolidate some processed cheese capacity. The transition of the volume will result in 74 positions being made redundant at our Ridge Street facility by December.

“Voluntary site wide redundancies will be offered, meaning that some processed cheese staff may elect to take the redundancy and there maybe opportunities for processed cheese staff to retrain for other roles within Bega Cheese. Bega Cheese will continue to employ in excess of 600 staff at Bega based facilities.”

More than a year ago, Bega Cheese permanently closed a cheddar and mozzarella production facility in Coburg, a Melbourne suburb in the state of Victoria, following a review of its manufacturing network.