March 2, 2018 3:01 pm

Nestle Canada invests $51.5M in London ice cream plant

Nestle Canada announced it's investing $51.5 million in its London factory to expand not only its existing product lines, but also its physical footprint by 9,000 square feet.

Jake Jeffrey/980 CFPL
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A big name in ice cream and other frozen treats is making a sizable investment in its London production plant.

Nestle Canada announced Friday it’s investing $51.5-million in the factory on Wilton Grove Road. The facility has been in London for 52 years and the cash will be used to expand its production capabilities.

Company officials say the investment will help the company continue to innovate and bring new products to the market. It will allow the plant to hire 12 new full-time positions, and convert 45 part-time seasonal positions to full time.

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In total, the plant currently employs between 700 and 750 people. Roughly 300 of those workers are full time and 50 are salaried.

“It’s a fantastic day for our employees. It’s a great day for our business. It’s a great day for the community. It’s a great day for the economy in London. So we’re really excited,” Nestle Canada’s senior vice president of corporate affairs Catherine O’Brien told 980 CFPL.

O’Brien said Nestle Canada is in the midst of a multi-phase project, focusing both on existing product lines and new options.

Plant manager Arthur Van Raalte said the expansion will involve four parts. The first will focus on producing tubs of Häagen-Dazs. The second will add a Drumstick line. The third involves technical improvements. The fourth and final phase is a 9,000-square-foot addition to the factory for the Häagen-Dazs ice cream bar line.

Van Raalte said the expansion work began in January and the line should be up and running by the end of 2018.

“We want to get a strong, new foundation for people to work for another 52 years,” said Van Raalte in a nod to the factory’s history in the city.

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O’Brien echoed that sentiment, saying the investment speaks to the commitment Nestle Canada’s Swiss parent company has in the London facility.

“This investment is a strong indication that we really value this community and we want to grow with the community,” O’Brien said. “We’re pretty excited.”

Not only is the expansion of the plant good news for London’s immediate workforce and economy, it will also benefit the wider regional economy, especially the agricultural sector. Nestle Canada is one of the largest purchasers of Canadian dairy products, O’Brien said.

“We work very closely with dairy farmers. We’re really proud of our connections to them and proud of them and the role that they play in delivering our great products.”

The products made at Nestle’s London factory are distributed across Canada.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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