Closing down of ready meal production at the site is expected mid-2014

Closing down of ready meal production at the site is expected mid-2014

Nestle is to close down the frozen meal operations at its Beauvais facility in the north of Paris as a consequence of the horsemeat scandal that hit Europe earlier this year.

A spokesperson for Nestle confirmed to just-food today (25 October) that the "crisis of trust" from customers in the wake of the horsemeat scandal affected the sale of its products in supermarkets.

The spokesperson said sales of ready meals were down by a quarter from a year ago, after falling 40% at the height of the scandal. Even now, the spokesperson said, sales are down 25%, making the Beauvais plant, which produces frozen ready meals under the Maggi brand, "uneconomical".

"There is not enough activity to continue," the spokesperson said. "The supermarkets were not concerned about our products following the horsemeat scandal but there was a crisis of trust from consumers and that had an impact on the sale of our products."

The spokesperson said the items affected by the shut down of production at the facility were only related to frozen ready meals and not any other products in the Maggi range.

Closing down of frozen ready meal production at the site is expected mid-2014 and will affect 165 jobs.

The spokesperson said employees will either be offered a job within the same facility on ice cream production or offered a "leaving package".

Nestle said it will now concentrate its efforts on working to make ice cream production at the facility "more competitive", which may involve further investment, the spokesperson suggested. The company has invested around EUR20m on the facility in the last three years with new high-tech production lines. "We want to ensure this facility remains competitive into the future."