Statement on Cadbury

16 February 2017

Food and Grocery Chief Executive Katherine Rich says her thoughts are with affected employees, their families, and the people of Dunedin over today’s announcement by Mondelez regarding their Cadbury factory.

“The factory means so much to the community and it’s been a big part of Dunedin life for nearly 150 years.

“The reality is it’s been tough keeping the doors open.

“Over the past 20 years in different roles, I have seen first-hand the people of Cadbury, Kraft and Mondelez try everything to make the numbers work – from new market ideas, reorganisation, innovation to increasing export production and new factory investment. The passion for chocolate-making and the intentions have been sincere, but the reality is no new strategy has worked.

“Like many Dunedinites, I feel great sadness at this final decision, but I know successive companies have worked so hard and exhausted all the options.

“As someone who has followed the issues closely, it seems to me there are certain factors which mean it’s hard to get the numbers to work. It’s not an artisan-scale chocolate factory. The factory footprint is massive, and the manufacturing scale required to make it profitable when producing such a low margin product is way beyond what can be achieved within New Zealand’s small domestic market and current environment.

“There has been no shortage of passion or collective political will for the factory to succeed from Dunedin City Council leaders, local Labour and National Members of Parliament and successive governments over the last few decades.

“I know many Members of Parliament have been champions, and I do recall seeing the powerful advocacy over the years from local MPs such as Pete Hodgson and Michael Woodhouse. As far as I am aware everything that could have been done has been done.

“Knowing Mondelez’s people well, and the way they operate, I know they are disappointed and saddened by having to make this move. Their first priority has always been their people and their families, and they know how this will affect them. Nothing about this decision is easy, but I know the company is doing all it can to support its people.”