Future-proofing butter production: FrieslandCampina shutters Netherlands factory, job losses on the horizon
10 Feb 2023 --- FrieslandCampina will make job cuts to optimize its butter production, moving all of its butter production to Lochem, in the Netherlands by mid-2025 following the planned closure of its facility in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. The company states that its decision was based on the rising demand for cream products used as raw materials for butter.
“For a robust and future-proof production network, an optimization of the butter production network is necessary,” Jan-Willem ter Avest, director of corporate media relations for FrieslandCampina, tells FoodIngredientsFirst. “We have planned to close the ‘s-Hertogenbosch butter production site and transfer the production volume to our site in Lochem.”
“We see in our portfolio a shift to more profitable cream products in foodservice and out-of-home markets. This means overcapacity in our butter production network.”
Danish dairy producer Arla Foods also recently noted that the European dairy category slowed down in 2022 and that revenue for butter suffered a decline.
In 2022, FrieslandCampina noted that it would determine how to further optimize its production network. The company closed production locations in Rotterdam and Friesland in the Netherlands, and sold a production location in China.
The company sold part of its German dairy operation to focus on high-performing brands.
“As a result of the proposed closure of the butter production facility in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, all jobs will be lost,” adds Ter Avest. “Closure of ‘s-Hertogenbosch is planned for mid-2025. Employees will therefore have time.”
The job losses amount to around 90 positions, which FrieslandCampina says, will partly be absorbed by natural turnover. Affected employees and trade unions have been informed.
“We realize that this intended decision marks the end of our decades-long presence in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in a couple of years and that this farewell will be an emotional moment for many employees,” says president of FrieslandCampina food & beverage, Roel van Neerbos.
All butter production will move to Friesland Campinas’s facility in Lochem, which will be combined with the company’s butter oil and powder production to make the facility more efficient.
The expansion is expected to create 27 new jobs.
“Investment in making our production more sustainable is a priority,” adds Ter Avest. “Besides a better use of the capacity of our production, we are looking at more energy-efficient installations and reducing CO2 emissions.”
The company aims to produce net climate neutral dairy by 2050 at the latest, according to its climate plan.
By Jolanda van Hal
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