Dr. Oetker to close New Brunswick pizza plant at end of May

Dr. Oetker has announced it will be closing its Grand Falls, N.B. frozen pizza plant at the May. CNW Group/Dr. Oetker GmbH

Food manufacturing company Dr. Oetker Canada Ltd. has announced it will be closing its Grand Falls, N.B., frozen pizza plant at the May.

A spokesperson says 180 jobs are affected.

The company says employees will receive a severance package that “exceeds the statutory requirements in addition to employment counseling, resume support and career planning assistance.” As well, the company will continue its group medical and dental benefits until Dec. 31.

READ: Campbell Soup Company announces closure of Toronto plant, 380 manufacturing jobs will be lost

According to a news release, the company is establishing a $4-million fund to help with job retraining and economic development. They plan to work with local government, as part of the fund.

Dr. Oetker is blaming a “challenging” retail food climate for the closure of the leased plant.

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“This very difficult announcement does not reflect on the quality of work and dedication of our Grand Falls employees. There is nothing our Grand Falls employees could have done differently. Food manufacturers have been facing severe economic pressures over the last few years and today’s market has become ultra-competitive,” said Cécile Van Zandijcke, the company’s executive vice-president, in a news release.

“In order for Dr. Oetker to continue operating efficiently within this challenging environment, we needed to restructure our Canadian Manufacturing Operation.”

READ: Maple Leaf Foods-run bakery shutting down in Grand Falls, N.B.

Dr. Oetker acquired the frozen pizza plant in Grand Falls from New Brunswick-based McCain Foods in 2014.

The company says that after the closure, 70 per cent of the manufacturing will move to its facility in London, Ont. The remaining 30 per cent of production will be moved to its plant south of the border in New Jersey.

Dr. Oetker Canada Ltd. is a subsidiary of a German company, Oetker Group.

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