Nestlé France is planning to sell three of its French plants as part of an on-going strategy of moving away from so-called traditional products and into more profitable sectors linked to nutrition and health.

A spokesman for Nestlé France told just-food that the three plants in question are the Purina cat and dog food plant in  Quimperlé in Brittany, which makes the Felix, Fido and Friskies brands, the powdered milk plant in Challeranges (north-east France), and the Lion chocolate bar plant in Dijon (eastern France).

"Nestlé's policy is to seek buyers for plants it is relinquishing rather than to close them and this is the case for the three plants in question," the spokesman said.

The Challeranges plant could be sold to Lactalis within the framework of the two groups' joint venture in the chilled dairy sector, he added.

The decision to sell the Dijon plant, which employs almost 500 staff, is largely a result of declining consumer preference for this type of confectionery. Despite innovation by Nestlé in this segment, such as the Fitness et Sveltesse cereal bars, its market share has eroded to the benefit of discount brands. However, a recent survey has revealed moderate growth in chocolate bars sales in France since the start of the year.

Restructuring also sees Nestlé France looking to trim the 1,200-strong workforce at its HQ in Noisiel, in the Paris suburbs, by 35% to 50% with certain services, such IT and accountancy,  being relocated.

The spokesman said the day of action called by the CGT on Tuesday (14 November) had only a marginal impact on production.