NORTHFIELD , Ill., Nov. 5 (UPI) — Food company Kraft Heinz Co. announced the layoffs of 2,600 employees and the closing of seven plants in an effort to increase the profitability at the mammoth food-beverage company.
The downsizing comes after the merger in July of H. J. Heinz Co. and Kraft Foods Group, which combined created the world’s fifth-largest food company. The two industry giants had a combined 46,600 employees at the time of the merger.
Kraft Heinz’s announce comes months after it eliminated 2,500 jobs, largely at Kraft’s Northfield, Ill. headquarters. Between the two rounds of job reductions, about 10 percent of the combined workforce will be eliminated.
A Heinz plant in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley will be closed with 12 to 24 months, as will a plant in St. Marys, Ont. Kraft plants scheduled to close are in Fullerton and San Leandro, Calif.; Federalsburg, Md.; Campbell, N.Y., and Madison, Wis.
While a company statement said the closures are “a critical step in our plan to eliminate excess capacity and reduce operational redundancies for the new combined company,” it added a new facility would be built in Davenport, Iowa, to replace an existing one. Additionally, a Champaign, Ill. plant will be reconfigured to make new products.
Kraft Heinz also promised millions of dollars in upgrades and production improvements to the remaining plants.