Two co-packers are left in the running to take on a portion of the production at Mondelez International’s plant in the New Zealand city of Dunedin, which the US snacks giant plans to close next March.
A third interested party, Dunedin Manufacturing Holdings, set up by local city councillor Jim O’Malley, said the crowd-funding venture supporting the offer, had decided to withdraw its bid. The venture had attracted almost NZD6m (US$4.4m) in pledges by Monday, according to reports in New Zealand.
“Given Mondelez’s requirements to ensure continuous production and supply of these products, we cannot access the equipment and people we need to establish our operation in the timeframe required to meet the quality and production goals of Mondelez,” O’Malley was quoted as saying in local reports.
Mondelez announced plans earlier this year stop production at the site in Dunedin, a move that will mark an end to its manufacturing in New Zealand. At the time, the Cadbury owner said more than 70% of the products made at the plant were exported “with the vast majority” shipped to Australia. Under its plans, Mondelez said the manufacturing taking place at Dunedin would end next year, with production moving to sites across the Tasman.
Mondelez then decided to call for expressions of interest from companies to continue producing New Zealand brands, such as Pineapple Lumps, Jaffas, Buzz Bars and Pinky Bars, locally. Those products represent about 10% of the Dunedin site’s production volumes.
Speaking to just-food, Mondelez said: “We’ve been clear from the beginning that the timelines for any potential Kiwi manufacturer would be challenging as we cannot have gaps in the supply of products to Kiwi consumers, which is particularly demanding for a new operation that has to create a facility that meets quality, taste and food safety standards, as well as establish the governance framework expected of a sustainable business.
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“We are, and will continue to work closely with the two remaining interested Kiwi manufacturers throughout July to see if a viable option exists that allows us to provide a seamless transition in supply of our Kiwi brands to our hundreds of small and large retail business partners across the country. While we continue to work with the two local parties, we can make these products in Australia to the same taste and quality standards as consumers expect today.”