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Campbell to close Toronto soup factory; 380 jobs affected


January 25, 2018
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Jan. 25, 2018 – Campbell Soup Company says it plans to close its manufacturing facility in Toronto, Ont., to improve the operational efficiency of its North American thermal supply chain network, as it moves its Canadian headquarters and commercial operations to a new location in the Greater Toronto Area.

The company cites significant productivity improvements and volume declines of canned soup in North America as two factors that have resulted in excess capacity in Campbell’s North American thermal supply chain network.

Campbell employs nearly 600 people in Toronto including its headquarters, commercial operations and manufacturing functions. Approximately 380 manufacturing and manufacturing-related roles will be impacted. Opened in 1931, Toronto is the oldest plant in the Campbell thermal network.

“Due to its size and age, the Toronto plant cannot be retrofit in a way that is competitively viable,” according to a company statement. Campbell plans to operate the Toronto facility for up to 18 months and will close it in phases, transitioning its production to three U.S. thermal plants in Maxton, N.C.; Napoleon, Ohio; and Paris, Texas.

Canadian soup and broth production will be consolidated into the company’s existing U.S. manufacturing network.

“The decision to stop producing soup and broth in Canada was a difficult one. After a thorough review, we decided this was the best course of action for our business. We are operating in an increasingly challenging environment as our industry’s consumer and retail landscapes continue to change dramatically. This decision in no way reflects on the talent or dedication of our team at our Toronto facility, and we are committed to assisting them through this difficult transition,” said Mark Alexander, president, Americas Simple Meals and Beverages.

The company plans to relocate the Canadian headquarters in the next several months, noting that site selection is currently underway for a new location in the Greater Toronto Area, which will feature a new food innovation centre.

“We are committed to treating our employees with the respect and fairness they deserve. Despite this decision, Canada is important to Campbell. We are remaining in Canada and will continue to make important contributions to the food industry in this country,” said Ana Dominguez, Campbell Canada president.

The decision to stop manufacturing in Toronto is part of a previously announced cost savings initiative. As of Oct. 29, 2017, Campbell has generated $345 million in annual ongoing cost savings from this multi-year initiative, and is investing a portion of the savings back into the business.